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A Generalization of the PVD Steganographic Method

A Generalization of the PVD Steganographic Method

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In this work we propose a novel Steganographic method for hiding information within the spatial domain of the gray scale image. The proposed approach works by dividing the cover into blocks of equal sizes and then embeds the message in the edge of the block depending on the number of ones in left four bits of the pixel. The purpose of this work is to generalize the PVD method [7] With four-pixel differencing instead of two pixel differencing and use the LSB Substitution to hide the secret message in the cover image.
In this work we propose a novel Steganographic method for hiding information within the spatial domain of the gray scale image. The proposed approach works by dividing the cover into blocks of equal sizes and then embeds the message in the edge of the block depending on the number of ones in left four bits of the pixel. The purpose of this work is to generalize the PVD method [7] With four-pixel differencing instead of two pixel differencing and use the LSB Substitution to hide the secret message in the cover image.

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A Generalization of the PVD SteganographicMethod
M.B. Ould MEDENI and El Mamoun SOUIDI
Laboratory of Mathematic Informatics and ApplicationsUniversity Mohammed V-Agdal, Faculty of SciencesRabat ,BP 1014, MoroccoEmail : sbaimedeni@yahoo.fr, souidi@fsr.ac.ma
 Abstract
—In this work we propose a novel Steganographicmethod for hiding information within the spatial domain of thegray scale image. The proposed approach works by dividing thecover into blocks of equal sizes and then embeds the message inthe edge of the block depending on the number of ones in leftfour bits of the pixel. The purpose of this work is to generalizethe PVD method [7] With four-pixel differencing instead of two-pixel differencing and use the LSB Substitution to hide the secretmessage in the cover image
Keywords:
Steganography, Watermarking, Least Signifi-cant Bit(LSB), PVD method, Digital Images, InformationHiding,Pixel-value differencing.I. I
NTRODUCTION
Steganography is the art of stealth communication. Its pur-pose is to make communication undetectable. The steganogra-phy problem is also known as the prisoners’ dilemma formu-lated by Simmons [4]. Alice and Bob are imprisoned and wantto hatch an escape plan. They are allowed to communicate viaa channel monitored by a warden. If the warden finds out thatthey are communicating secretly, he throws them into solitaryconfinement. Thus, the prisoners need to design a method toexchange messages without raising the warden’s suspicion.The prisoners hide their messages in innocuous-looking coverobjects by slightly modifying them (obtaining stego objects).The embedding process is usually driven by a stego key, whichis a secret shared between Alice and Bob. It is typically usedto select a subset of the cover object and the order in which thecover object elements are visited during embedding. The mostimportant property of any steganographic communication isstatistical undetectability. In other words, the warden shouldnot be able to distinguish between cover and stego objects.Formal description of this requirement in information-theoreticterms was given by Cachin [5]. If the communication channelthat Alice and Bob use is distortion-free, we speak about thepassive warden scenario.The most common and well-known steganographic method iscalled least significant bit (LSB) substitution, which embedssecret data by replacing
k
LSBs of a pixel with
k
secret bits di-rectly [1]. Many optimized LSB methods have been proposedto improve this work [2], [3]. The human perceptibility hasa property that it is sensitive to some changes in the pixelsof the smooth areas, while it is not sensitive to changes inthe edge areas. Not all pixels in a cover image can tolerateequal amount of changes without causing noticeable distortion.Hence, to improve the quality of stego images, several adaptivemethods have been proposed in which the amount of bits tobe embedded in each pixel is variable. Wu and Tsai proposeda novel steganographic method that uses the difference valuebetween two neighboring pixels to determine how many secretbits should be embedded [7].In contrary : Steganalysis methods attempt to detect Stego-image and extract it. Inserting secret bits in image changessome statistics of image, this opens some roads to detect Stego-image. So the changes made by Steganographic are a keyperformance metric ; lower change : more robust algorithm.It is evident that the changes in cover image are related to thevolume of inserted bit, so Stego-images with higher insertionrate are detected more easily.Stegananalysis methods generally are divided in two maingroups: active and passive methods. In passive methods onlypresence or absence of hidden data is considered, while inactive methods a inserted data is extracted [8]. Furthermore,different steganalysis methods, depending on steganographyalgorithms they target, can be classified in two groups : Model-based (Specific) and Universal Steganalysis.The aim of this work is to generalize the PVD method [7] Withfour-pixel differencing instead of two-pixel differencing andLSB Substitution. The remainder of the paper is organized asfollows. Section 2 gives a brief introduction to Steganographyand Data Hiding Methods.We construct our approach andreport on experimental results in section 3 and 4. Section 5gives a conclusion.II. D
IGITAL
I
MAGES IN
S
TEGANOGRAPHY
 A. Digital Images
A digital image at the most abstract level is a two-dimensional array of colored pixels or dots. When these pixelsare displayed on a high-resolution monitor and viewed atan appropriate distance, they appear to be a continuouslycolored image. Each pixel is a certain color which is typicallydefined, using the redgreen- blue (RGB) color model, asa combination of varying amounts of red, green, and bluelight. A color image is therefore said to contain three bands,each of which represents the amount of red, green, or bluelight in the image. Whereas a color image contains colorand intensity information, a gray-scale image is composed of 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 8, November 2010156http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
pixels that vary only in intensity, not color. Gray-scale imagestherefore have only a single band. Without loss of generality,the remaining discussion will focus on gray-scale images. Thediscussion is easily extended to cover color images by notingthat a color image is the composition of three individual gray-scale images representing the red, green and blue bands. Thetypical gray-scale image has an 8-bit depth which is sufficientto represent 256 unique intensity values ranging from black to white [9]. A brief review of binary representation will beinstructive when interpreting bit-level pixel data in the contextof a digital image. An 8-bit binary numeral has the generalform
A
7
2
7
+
A
6
2
6
+
...
+
A
1
2
1
+
A
0
2
0
where
A
n
represents a single binary digit. In a digital imageit is clear that
A
7
is the most significant bit and indicateswhether the pixel value is greater than 127. A common meansof converting a grayscale image to a binary (i.e. black-and-white) image is to extract the
A
7
bit from each pixel. Bycontrast,
A
0
embodies relatively little information and, in thecontext of a digital image, can generally be understood as anoise channel.
 B. Overview of Steganograhy
Steganography hides secret messages under the cover of a carrier signal so it cannot be seen or detected [6], [8],[11]. Steganography technique should generally possess twoimportant properties: good visual/statistical imperceptibilityand a sufficient payload. The first is essential for the securityof hidden communication and the second ensures that a largequantity of data can be conveyed [10]. Two levels of protectioncan be done if the message is encrypted before hiding it, soit must be decrypted before reading it. Invisible watermarkingis treated as a subset of steganography [10].
Fig. 1. Embedding of a secret message into the three least significant channelsof a cover image
The difference is that steganography conceals a messageso that this hidden message is the object of the communi-cation where in watermarking; the hidden message providesimportant information about the cover media, such as au-thentication or copyright. Steganography, in the simplest case,capitalizes on this overabundance of information by replacingthe noise channels (i.e. the least significant bit channels)with an arbitrary secret message. Figure 1 gives an overviewof a steganographic process flow. A source image, hereafterreferred to as a cover, is viewed as 8 information carryingchannels. A secret message is spread over the least significantchannels (in this case the three least significant channels)with the modified channels re-combined to obtain an output,hereafter referred to as the stego image, that visually resemblesthe cover image and contains the injected message.III. PVD M
ETHOD FOR
G
RAY
-L
EVEL
I
MAGE
The pixel-value differencing (PVD) method [7] segmentsthe cover image into nonoverlapping blocks containing twoconnecting pixels and modifies the pixel difference in eachblock (pair) for data embedding. A larger difference in theoriginal pixel values allows a greater modification. The hidingalgorithm is described as follows:1) Calculate the difference value
d
i
for each block of twoconsecutive pixels
i
and
i
+1
,
d
i
=
i
+1
i
2) Find the optimal
R
i
of the
d
i
such that
R
i
=
min
(
u
i
k
)
, where
u
i
k
,
k
=
|
d
i
|
and
R
i
[
l
i
,u
i
]
3) Decide
t
bits of secret data which are hidden with each
d
i
, i.e. each block of two consecutive pixels is definedas
t
=
log
2
(
w
i
)
where
w
i
is the width of the
R
i
4) Read
t
bits binary secret data one by one according toStep 3, and then transform
t
into decimal value
b
. Forinstance, assume a binary secret data is
101
, then
b
= 5
.5) Calculate the new difference value
d
i
using:
d
i
=
l
i
+
b
,for
d
i
0
or
d
i
=
(
l
i
+
b
)
, for
d
i
<
0
6)
i
and
i
+1
are modified to hide t secret data by the fol-lowing formula:
(
i
,
i
+1
) = (
i
− 
m
2
,
i
+1
+
m
2
)
:
d
i
odd
or
(
i
,
i
+1
) = (
i
− 
m
2
,
i
+1
+
m
2
)
:
d
i
even
where
m
=
d
i
d
i
. Finally, we compute thevalues of 
(
i
,
i
+1
)
which represent the secret data.7) Repeat Steps 1-6, until all secret data are hidden intothe cover image and the stego-image is obtained.In the extraction phase, the original range table is necessary.It is used to partition the stego-image by the same method asused to the cover image. The extraction phase is implementedas follows:1) Calculate the difference value
d
i
between each twosuccessive pixels for each block 
(
i
,
i
+1
)
from thefollowing formula :
d
i
=
|
i
+1
i
|
2) Find the optimum
R
i
of the
d
i
just as in Step 2 in thehiding phase.3) Obtain
b
by subtracting
l
i
from
d
i
. The
b
value repre-sents the value of the secret data in decimal.4) Convert
b
into binary then find number of bits
t
fromthe secret data, where
t
=
log
2
(
w
i
)
[7]
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 8, November 2010157http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
IV. P
ROPOSED
S
TEGANOGRAPHY
S
CHEME
In this section we discuss the proposed approach for hidinginformation within the spatial domain of the gray scale image.The proposed approach works by dividing the cover intoblocks of equal sizes
(8
×
8)
. Our proposed method adaptivelyembeds messages using two levels (lower-level and higher-level), and the square of median value
is used to partitionthe average difference
D
into two levels. If 
D <
,
D
belongs to ”lower-level” (i.e., the block belongs to a smootharea). Otherwise,
D
belongs to ”higher-level” (i.e., the block belongs to an edge area).
 A. Determine The Place of Embedding in The Image
All the pixels in the cover image are 256 gray values.The cover image is partitioned into non-overlapping four-pixelblocks. For each block, there are four neighboring pixels
p
i,j
,
 p
i,j
+1
,
p
i
+1
,j
,
p
i
+1
,j
+1
, and their corresponding gray valuesare
y
1
,
y
2
,
y
3
and
y
4
, respectively.1) Divide the cover into blocks of equal sizes
8
×
8
2) Calculate the square root of median for each block.
=
 
(
median
)
3) Calculate the average difference value
D
, which is givenby
D
=
13
3
i
=0
(
y
i
+1
y
i
)
4) IF
D
, then embed Message in
p
i,j
,
p
i,j
+1
,
p
i
+1
,j
,
 p
i
+1
,j
+1
, (go to The embedding algorithm)
 B. The embedding algorithm
1) Split each pixel into two equal parts (see Figure 2).2) Count number of 1 in the most part and embed a secretmessage in the least part according to the correspondingnumber of bits in Table 1.
Fig. 2. Split Process.
number of 1 in number of Bitsthe most part to be embedded4 or 3 3 bits2 2 bits1 or 0 1The recipient uses the extraction algorithm in order toextract the secret message from the stego-image. Extractingsecret message is done in the same way as in the embeddedoperation, depending on the value of the median:
=
 
(
median
)
. If the average difference value
D
is more thanthe value of 
then extract the message depending on therule in Table 1.V. E
XPERIMENTAL RESULTS
Several experiments are preformed to evaluate our proposedmethod. Ten gray-scale images with size
512
×
512
are used inthe experiments as cover images, and three of them are shownin Fig. 3. A series of pseudo-random numbers as the secret bitstreams are embedded into the cover images. The peak signalto noise ratio (PSNR) is utilized to evaluate the quality of thestego image. For an
×
gray-scale image, the PSNR valueis defined as follows:
PSNR
= 10
×
log
10
255
×
255
×
×
i
=1
j
=1
(
ij
Q
ij
)
2
(
dB
)
where
ij
and
Q
ij
denote the pixel values in row
i
and column
 j
of the cover image and the stego image, respectively. In thissection we present the experimental results of stego-image onthree will known images: Lena, Pepper, and Baboon images.These images are shown in Figs 3. The quality of stego-imagecreated by our proposed method are shown in Figs.4. Asthe figures show, distortions resulted from embedding areimperceptible to human vision. We present also a comparativestudy of the proposed methods with PVD method.We have analyzed our results according to PVD method foreach of the tested images. We also analyzed our results bycomputing Payload, and peak signal-to noise ratio (PSNR).
Fig. 3. Three cover images with size
512
×
512
: (a) Lena (b) Peppers (c)Baboon.
Payload: the size of date that could be imbedded within thecover-image is shown in Table 2Image Image size Data size Data size(PVD) (Proposed Method)Lena
128
×
128
2048 2493
255
×
255
8192 10007
512
×
512
32768 40017
1024
×
1024
131072 160604Peppers
128
×
128
2048 2560
255
×
255
8192 10211
512
×
512
32768 40990
1024
×
1024
131072 163724Baboon
128
×
128
2048 2443
255
×
255
8192 9767
512
×
512
32768 39034
1024
×
1024
131072 156308Figure. 4 shows the amount of messages hidden in the 3cover images. Three stego images (a) Lena (embedded 40017bits,
PSNR
= 42
.
68
dB
) (b) Peppers (embedded 40990
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 8, November 2010158http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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