Skip to main content

Trance music hides secret messages in new encryption technique

best dance songs
Stephen Arnold/Unsplash
Next time you find yourself dancing to trance music in a club, listen carefully to the tempo — it may be sending you a message. And no, this message is not speaking to your heart, it actually is a new form of cryptography called “StegIbiza” that hides a message inside this unique form of trance music. In this latest breakthrough, Krzysztof Szczypiorski at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland has advanced the musical form of cryptography by developing a technique that embeds secret messages into trance music.

Hidings secret messages within a body of work, such as a musical composition, is nothing new — people have been using the technique of steganography since the 16th century, when Benedictine monk Johannes Trithemius hid his treatise on cryptography within a book about magic. Since then the discipline has improved immensely with researchers now encoding messages inside the digital music.

Related Videos

Szczypiorski uses variations in tempo to encode secret messages in Ibiza dance-club music, a type of music originating in the Balearic islands that are known for its heavy, trance-like beat. He uses the tempo changes as a digital Morse code — speeding up the tempo for a dot and slowing it down for a dash. These tempo changes are then added to a song using software like Apple’s Logix X Pro and used to spell out words. It’s so easy to apply that Szczypiorski expects someone can easily create a software program that will introduce these tempo changes automatically.

The technique is so subtle that listeners cannot detect these tempo changes, hearing only the music itself at parties. When testing this method, Szczypiorski found he could alter the tempo by 2 percent without people, even trained musicians noticing the changes. “At this level, the experiment was stopped because the rest of the party did not care about the music,” Szczypiorski said to MIT Technology Review. Szczypiorski called his technique “StegIbiza” after the music’s Mediterranean origins.

Editors' Recommendations

This new Windows 11 feature will help you protect your passwords
A man sits, using a laptop running the Windows 11 operating system.

The new Windows 11 22H2 update was just released, bringing an interesting security feature. Dubbed "Enhanced Phishing Protection," this feature was made to help users protect their Windows passwords a little bit better.

Enhanced Phishing Protection will warn users whenever they enter their Windows password in places where it's not needed. Here's how it works.

Read more
Spellcheckers in Google Chrome could expose your passwords
Office computer with login asking for password and username.

If you like to be thorough and use an advanced spellchecker, we have some bad news -- your personal information could be in danger.

Using the extended spellcheck in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge transmits everything you input in order for it to be checked. Unfortunately, this includes information that should be strictly encrypted, such as passwords.

Read more
How much storage do you need on your new iPhone 14? Here’s how to decide
The five Apple iPhone 14 colors.

The new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are finally available, and Apple is again offering a selection of storage tiers. The big question is just how much storage do you need on your iPhone 14? Similar to last year, the iPhone 14 series lets you choose as little as 128GB and as much as 1TB. This means that if you want to get a new iPhone, you'll need to pick between 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB options. Bigger isn't always better, nor is it always excessive. Only you know how you use your phone, but here's a quick guide to help you pick which iPhone size is the best option for you.

iPhone 14
iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 Pro Max

Read more