A New Digital Image Security Strategy: Steganoflage

A Cheddad, Joan Condell, K Curran, Paul McKevitt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


For decades people strove to develop innovative methods for secret communication. Steganography, as an example, came to life under the assumption that if the feature is visible, the point of attack is evident. Steganography is the art and science of hiding data in a transmission medium. It is a sub-discipline of security systems. Although the term steganography has existed for thousands of years, its digital version came to public consciousness of late - with the boost in computer power, the internet and with the development of Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Information Theory and Coding Theory, steganography went “Digital”. In the realm of this digital world steganography has created an atmosphere of corporate vigilance that has spawned various interesting applications, thus its continuing evolution is guaranteed.Digital steganography refers to the science that involves communicating secret data in an appropriate multimedia carrier in an undetectable manner, e.g., Image, Audio, and Video files. Here we concentrate on digital images where human visual perception is exploited. The ultimate goal here is to conceal the very presence of the embedded data. Steganalysis, which is the official counter attack science, has challenged steganographic algorithms whether they are based on the spatial domain or the transform domain. Inspired by the notion that steganography can be embedded as part of the normal printing process, Japanese firm Fujitsu is developing a technology to encode data into a printed picture that is invisible to the human eye, i.e., data, but can be decoded by a mobile phone with a camera. The process takes less than one second as the embedded data is merely 12 bytes. Hence, users will be able to use their cellular phones to capture encoded data. They charge a small fee for the use of their decoding software which sits on the firm's own servers. The basic idea is to transform the image colour scheme prior to printing to its Hue, Saturation and Value components (HSV), then embed into the Hue domain to which human eyes are not sensitive. However, mobile cameras can see the coded data and retrieve it. This application can be used for “Doctor’s prescriptions, food wrappers, billboards, business cards and printed media such as magazines and pamphlets” or to replace barcodes.Most of the works done on steganography in the literature have neglected the fact that object oriented steganography can strengthen the embedding robustness. Recognizing and tracking elements in a given carrier while embedding can help survive major image processing attacks and compression. This manifests itself as an adaptive intelligent type where the embedding process affects only certain Regions Of Interest (ROI) rather than the entire image. With the advances in Computer Vision (CV) and pattern recognition disciplines this method can be fully automated and unsupervised. Here we introduce our contribution in exploiting one of the most successful face recognition algorithms in building up a robust steganographic method. The discovery of human skin tone uniformity in some transformed colour spaces introduced a great achievement in the biometric research field. It provides a simple yet a real time robust algorithm. In this work we examine the state of the art and we look at our contributions to the science along with various frameworks of security applications in which steganography can play a major role.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherUlster University
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Aug 2009
EventThe 15th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA 2009) - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Duration: 23 Aug 2009 → …


WorkshopThe 15th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA 2009)
Period23/08/09 → …


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