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A New High Quality Vision Non-Adaptive

Steganographic Method, Using Module and


Combined Functions
Seyed Rahman Soleimani, Masood Niazi Torshiz


Department of Computer Science, Islamic Azad University-Mashad Branch, Iran

rhm.soleimani@gmail.com
masood.niazi@gmail.com

Abstract In this paper, a new non-adaptive steganographic
method for embedding the secret data in images, has been
proposed. In this method, cover image is divided into non-
overlapping two-pixel blocks using module and combined
functions, the fixed number of secret bits will be hidden in each
block. More ever, in this method we have tried to increase the
quality of the stego image by reducing the distortion of stego
pixels. The results, also confirms that the quality of stego image
has been increased in our proposed method compared the other
non-adaptive steganographic methods.

Keywords steganography, non-adaptive, module, combined,
stego image.
I. INTRODUCTION
Nowadays, by increasing development of information
technology and communication, the world moves toward
digital communication and digital data. In this field, the role
of internet as a low cost and public communicative channel is
being more reinforced in the communication world. Given to
public and common structure of this communication channel,
establishing security and providing confidential
communications via internet is of special importance [1].
Generally there are two main ways in providing security [2];
Cryptography and Steganography. In cryptography, secret
data are converted into unreadable and obscure data by one or
more cryptographic keys and its main goal is to hide contents
of a secret message and not necessarily communication itself.
Incomprehensibility of such data might attract hostile peoples
attention and evoke their curiosity and sabotage feeling. To
address this problem, steganography can be used in addition to
cryptography the goal of which is to hide secret
communication by putting confidential data in a cover media
so that the least appreciable changes for human perception can
be manifested in that media and existence of the message
hidden in it cant be detected even probably.
Digital images are of high popularity in the internet and
include more visual redundancy than other digital media like
text, audio and video, and much data can be embedded in
image pixels without any sensible changes for human eyes. In
Image steganography methods, after embedding secret bits in
pixels, cover image is called stego image.
Different methods of image steganography can be divided
into two general groups; Adaptive and non-adaptive,
depending on whether the number of bits being able to be
embedded in each pixel as fixed or variable [3]. In non-
adaptive methods, the number of bits being able to be
embedded is constant in all image pixels; However in adaptive
methods the number of bits being able to be embedded in
different areas of cover image is different and can be
determined by pixel placement.
The first and the most famous non-adaptive steganography
method is K-LSB
1
[4] in which k number of secret message
bits are replaced by k least significant bits of cover image
pixels. According to [5], one modulus function was used to
adapt all secret bits in total value of pixels rather than only
replacement of LSB bits of pixel with secret message bits. In
[6] another procedure of bit adjustment was applied for
substitution of secret bits which increased visual quality of
image. These methods embedded all bits in total value of
pixels rather than only replacement of LSB bits. Using module
and combined functions, Chang et al. [7] method hidden
secret bits in two-pixel blocks of cover image.
In the present paper, a new non-adaptive steganography
method is suggested based on method proposed in [7]. In the
following, first in section II, methods related to ones we
proposed are introduced. Then in section III, the method
suggesting in this paper is described. In Section IV, the
implementation results of the method suggested as well as
comparison of them with those of other methods are explained
and finally conclusion will be submitted in section V.

1
K-Least Significant Bit method
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II. RELATED METHODS
In this section, two well-known non-adaptive
steganograophy method including K-LSB [4] and Chang et al.
[7] method are described. Our non-adaptive steganography
method presented in this paper is based on Chang et al.
method.
A. K-LSB Method
The most common and the simplest method in
steganography is LSB in which secret bits are embedded in
the least significant bits of each pixel of cover image. In this
method, each pixel of an image contains one bit of secret data.
Although LSB is the simplest method in steganography, many
steganography methods have been suggested based on this
method so far [8]-[16].
In LSB method, one bit of secret message is embedded in
LSB of pixel. Similarly, in K-LSB method, K bit of secret
message is embedded in K LSB bits of each pixel. For
example, consider secret bit string 6='110' and the value of
pixel 225='11100001'. Stego pixel 230='11100110' will be
obtained by 3-LSB method. By extracting 3 LSB bits of each
pixel in destination, we can reach secret message. So bit string
'110' is extracted from stego pixel 11100110 as a part of secret
data. In this method, after embedding secret data maximum
pixel value distortion in each pixel is 2
k
-1.
B. Chang et al.s Method [7]
In this method first cover image is divided into non-
overlapped two-pixel blocks. How Blocks visited as raster
scan is shown in Fig. 1. In a block, left pixel is called l
i
and
right pixel is called r
i
. Method [7] is the only non-adaptive
steganographic method that embedded each secret bitstream in
two pixels of cover image. So this method is very flexible in
embedding secret data bits in cover images. For example, in
other methods 1, 2 or 3 bits can be hidden in each pixel while
in this method if 3 bits of secret data are hidden in each pair of
pixels, in average 1.5 bit of secret data are hidden in each
pixel.
In this method in order to embed n bits of secret data in a
two-pixel block of cover image, we embed a number of bits
with value of '1' in the bitstream in l
i
and the way these bits
are placed in bitstream, are embedded in r
i
using combined
function.
Embedding capacity of all blocks in cover image in this
method is fixed and equal to n bits. If we consider the
bitstream embedded in a block to be S
n
=b
n-1
b
n-2
b
1
b
0
and the
number of bits with value 1 in this bitstream is k, then
possible states of placing k bits of secret data with value of 1
into bitstream is
n
k
C . Using equation (1), placement of secret
bits in the bitstream can be determined by a combined
function.

=
=
1
1
) (
) (
n
i
i
i N i n
C b S f (1)


Fig. 1 How blocks in cover images are visited as raster scan.

In equation (1), b
i
is the value of i-th bit of S
n
. N(i) is also
the number of bits 1 available in S
n
from the first bit to i-th bit.
New values of pixels l
i
and r
i
(r'
i
, l'
I
) are changed in a way
that values of k and f(S
n
) obtained for S
n
satisfy in the
following equations.
) 1 mod( + ' = n l K
i
(2)
n
k i
C r f mod ) S (
n
' =
(3)
Considering equations (2) and (3), maximum distortion
created in pixels l
i
and r
i
after embedding step are

2 /
n
k
C and

2 / ) 1 ( + n respectively, when extracting secret data bits. Using
equations (2) and (3) and having the value of n, values of k
and f(S
n
) can be obtained easily for each block of cover image.
Then by applying function f
--1
according to equation (4), secret
bits embedded in that block can be extracted. In this equation
num is given initial value with value of f(S
n
) and also
, 1 > n

1
0
0
= C .

+
+
+
=

' 1 ' ) 1 , 1 , (
' 1 ' ) 1 , 1 , (
' 0 ' ) , 1 , (
) , , (
1
1 1
1
1
k n num f
k n C num f
k n num f
k n num f
n
k
k n if
k n C num if
C num if
n
k
n
k
<
> >
<

) 1 (
) 1 ( ,
1
1
(4)
III. THE PROPOSED METHOD
Non-adaptive method of Chang et al. [7] has better visual
quality for stego image in the same embedding capacity than
other non-adaptive methods. In the most of non-adaptive
ways, secret bits are replaced by the least significant bits of
each pixel in cover images; while in [7] secret bits are
embedded implicitly by a modulus function in image pixels.
In implicit methods, stego pixels are protected against
different steganalysis attacks [17]-[19]. Because of that we
proposed a new improved solution by making some changes
in Chang et al. method in order to increase the quality of stego
image obtained by this method and decrease the distortions of
hiding secret bits in pixels of cover image.
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In a combined function such as
n
k
C , as K approaches to n/2,
the value of the combined function increased. Maximum value
for this function is obtained by equation below.
(

=
=
=
odd is K if n or n k
even is K if n k
C
n
k
2 / 2 /
2 /
) max(
(5)
For example if n=6, maximum value of the combined
function is C
3
6
=20 or if n=5, maximum value of the combined
function is C
2
5
=C
3
5
=10. For example, in Table I, values of K
and f(S
n
) are shown for n=5 which obtained by using equation
(1).
According to Table I, it can be concluded that if K value of
bitstream equals to n or 0, the value of module in equation (3)
equal to 1 and it is not necessary to calculate f(S
n
) and change
r
i
, because there will be only one possible state for placement
of these bits in cover image blocks.
Fig. 2 indicates the number of possible states for replacing
the K bit of value 1 in a 5-bit and 6-bit bitstream. As we can
see in this figure, while K approaches n/2, the value of
combined function which is equal to system module increases.

Table I
VALUES OF K AND f(Sn) OBTAINED WITH CHANG ET AL. METHOD
S
5
K f(S
5
) S
5
K f(S
5
) S
5
K f(S
5
)
00000 0 0 01011 3 1 10110 3 6
00001 1 0 01100 2 5 10111 4 1
00010 1 1 01101 3 2 11000 2 9
00011 2 0 01110 3 3 11001 3 7
00100 1 2 01111 4 0 11010 3 8
00101 2 1 10000 1 4 11011 4 2
00110 2 2 10001 2 6 11100 3 9
00111 3 0 10010 2 7 11101 4 3
01000 1 3 10011 3 4 11110 4 4
01001 2 3 10100 2 8 11111 5 0
01010 2 4 10101 3 5



n=5 n=6
Fig. 2 Different value of f(Sn) in Chang et al. method that obtained from
different value of K (the horizontal axis is equal to value of k and the vertical
axis indicates the maximum value of the module in equation (3)).

When f(S
n
) is being maximized, variation range of function f
(S
n
) can be decreased significantly by changing the values of
K and f(S
n
) to new values K' and f'(S
n
) (K' is equal to 0 or n) as
well as changing the system modulus and decreasing system
modulus (Fig. 3). As maximum value of f(S
n
) decreases,
distortion of r
i
may also be decreased. The proposed Non-
adaptive method, include two steps: embedding the secret data
and extracting them.


Fig. 3 a) how the maximum value of f(Sn) being decreased by reducing the
module and mapping these maximum values to state which k=0 or k=n. 1)n=6
2)n=5. b) The maximum value of module after mapping in our proposed
method.

A. Embedding Secret Data Bits
For embedding secret data bits in our proposed non-
adaptive method, firstly considering the embedding capacity
of blocks are odd or even, then we examined the situation that
the value of f(S
n
) is maximum; If the condition is true , the
value of k and f(S
n
) are mapped to new values of k' and f'(S
n
)
according to equation (6) and (7) (equation (6) used for even
values of n and equation (7) used for odd values of n). As
shown in Fig. 3 (A-2), if the embedding capacity in the block
is odd, maximum values of f(S
n
) change when k= [n/2] or
k=[n/2]. Also if it is even (Fig. 3 (A-1)), then the maximum
values of f(S
n
) change when k=n/2 or k=n/2+1. If the values of
K and f (S
n
) arent satisfied in any available conditions in
equations (6) or (7), there is no need to change the values of
K' and f'(S
n
) (equation (8)).

=
> + =
+ + = ' = '
> =
+ = ' = '
> =
= ' = '
=

1 2 /
1
1 2 /
1 2 /
3
1 ) ( , 1 2 /
2 / 3 1 ) ( ) ( ,
1 ) ( , 1 2 /
1 ) ( ) ( ,
) ( , 2 /
) ( ) ( , 0
3 ) max(
n
even
n
n
n n
n
n n
n
n n
n n
k
module
V S f n k if
V S f S f n k
V S f n k if
V S f S f n k
V S f n k if
V S f S f k
C V
(6)

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(


(


(

s =
+ =
> =
=

> =
= ' = '
> =
= ' = '

n
n
n
n
n
odd
n
n
n
n
n
n
k odd
n
n
n
n
n
n n
n
n
n
n
n
n n
C S f n or n k if
C module
C S f n or n k if
C C module
C S f n k if
C S f S f n k
C S f n k if
C S f S f k
1 2 /
1 2 /
2
1 2 /
1 2 /
1
1 2 /
1 2 /
1 2 /
1 2 /
) ( , 2 / 2 /
1
) ( , 2 / 2 /
) max(
) ( , 2 /
) ( ) ( ,
) ( , 2 /
) ( ) ( , 0
(7)

) ( ) ( ,
n n
S f S f k k = ' = ' (8)

After determining the values of K', f'(S
n
) and the module,
considering equations (9) and (10), using a modulus function
values of K' and f'(S
n
) are embedded in pixels l
i
and r
i
.
B. Extracting Secret Data Bits
Like embedding step, stego image is divided into distinct
two-pixel blocks. To extract secret bits, according to equations
(9) and (10) and because the capacity of the block is odd or
even (value of the parameter n and the value of two pixels in
stego block) we calculate the value of K' and f'(S
n
) in each
block. Then according to these values, by equations (11) and
(12) we examined the conditions that the values of K and f(S
n
)
are mapped into new values.

(

=
= '
=
= '
=
= ' = '
=
= '
=
= ' = '
=
= '
other
C module
even is n and n k if
module module
even is n and n k if
module module
even is n and n k or k f
module module
odd is n and n or n k if
module module
odd is n and n k or k if
module module
module r S f
n
k
even
even
even
odd
odd
i n
) 1 2 / (
) 2 / (
) 0 (
) 2 / 2 / (
) 0 (
mod ) (
1
2
1
2
1
(9)
) 1 mod( + = ' n l K
i
(10)

If the conditions are satisfied, the original values of f(S
n
)
and K obtained for the respective block (equation (11) for odd
values of n and equation (12) for even values of n).
Finally, using equation (4) bitstream embedded in any two-
pixel blocks of stego image is extracted. Putting all these
extracted bitstream together the secret message is obtained
from stego image.



(

= ' + ' = =
= ' + ' = =

n k if C S f S f n k
k if C S f S f n k
n
n
n n
n
n
n n
1 2 /
1 2 /
) ( ) ( , 2 /
0 ) ( ) ( , 2 /
(11)



> ' = '


+ ' = + =
< ' = '
+ ' = =
= '
+ ' = =

2 / 3 ) ( ,
2 / 3 1 ) ( ) ( , 1 2 /
2 / 3 ) ( ,
1 ) ( ) ( , 1 2 /
0
) ( ) ( , 2 /
1 2 /
1 2 /
1 2 /
n
n
n
n n
n
n
n n
n n
S f n k if
V S f S f n k
S f n k if
V S f S f n k
k if
V S f S f n k
(12)

Example) Assuming that we want to hide the bitstream
S
5
=10100 in the following block using proposed non-adaptive
steganography method.


In the bit stream S
5
, K=2. Also according to equation (1),
f(S
5
)=8. Since these values are applied in equation (7), new
values of K'=0 and f(S
5
) =3 are obtained for this bitstream
when embedding. According to equations (9) and (10) and
considering the module obtained by equation (7), different
values are marked as the value of resulted stego pixels. After
embedding the secret bits, to reduce the distortion, the best
value is selected from marked answers as a final value of
stego pixel for each block. By reducing the distortion in each
block, the quality of resulted stego image is increased.

Eq (1) 8 1 0 1 0 ) (
4
2
3
1
2
1
1
0 5
= + + + = C C C C S f
Eq (7)

= =
= '
= = '
= > =
5 5 10
0
3 5 8 ) 10100 (
5 8 ) 10100 (
5
5
1
module
k
f
C f

Eq (9) 18 ,... 28 , 23 , 18 , 13 .., 5 mod 3 = ' = ' ' =
i i i
r r r
Eq (10) 18 ,... 24 , 18 , 12 ..., 6 mod 0 = ' = ' ' =
i i i
l l l


To extract the bitstream embedded in stego block in this
example, considering the pixels values and embedding
capacity in stego blocks. We do as follows:
Eq (10) 0 6 mod 18 = = ' k
Eq (9) 3 5 mod 18 ) ( 5
5 1
= = ' = S f module
odd

Eq (11) 8 ) ( , 2
5
= = S f k
Eq (4) ) 1 , 3 , 2 ( ' 0 ' 1 ' ) 1 , 4 , 2 ( ' 1 ' ) 2 , 5 , 8 (
1 1 1
+ + + = f f f
' 10100 ' ) 0 , 0 , 0 ( ' 0 '
1010 ' ) 0 , 1 , 0 ( ' 0 ' ' 101 ' ) 0 , 2 , 0 ( ' 1 ' ' 10 '
1
1 1
+ +
+ + + +


f
f f

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As it was said earlier, when we embed secret bits in pixels
of cover image by module function, maximum changes
created in the respective pixel in worst case is equal to the half
of system module. According to aforementioned conditions in
equation (5), and considering equations (6) and (7), in worst
case, the maximum changes created in pixel r
i
is


2 / ) 1 (
1 2 /
+

n
n
C
if n is odd and if n is even it is equal to

2 / ) 1 3 ) (max(
1 2 /
+
n n
k
C
.
For example, if n=5 and n=6, maximum changes are 3 and
6 respectively while in Chang et al. method, maximum
changes created in r
i
when n=5 and n=6 equal to 5 and 10
respectively. It shows that our method has outperformed in
reducing the distortion of cover image pixels and has the
better vision quality.
IV. IMPLEMENTATION RESULT
In this section, we shall present our experimental results to
demonstrate the proposed method can perform better than
Chang et al. and K-LSB methods. These results were obtained
using MATLAB 7.1 on Windows XP. Hardware used in this
implementation includes CPU AMD 3000 with 2GB RAM.
Four well-known grayscale cover images, Pepper,
Baboon, Lena, Barbara, shown in Fig. 4, were used as
test image in our experiments. The size of all cover images was
512512. We use a series of pseudorandom number as the
secret data to be embedded into the cover image.
The peak-signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) was utilized to
evaluate the stego image quality [10]. The PSNR is defined by
equation (14). In equation (13), MSE is the mean squares of
difference between value of pixels in cover image and stego
image.

(13)

=
1
0
1
0
2
, ,
) ( )
1
(
M
i
N
j
j i j i
S C
N M
MSE

dB
MSE
) (
PSNR
b 2
10
1 2
log 10

=
(14)

Here, C
ij
is the pixel of cover image where the coordinate is
(i,j), and S
i,j
is the pixel of stego image where the coordinate is
(i,j). M and N in equations (13) represent the size of the image.
b is the bit depth of cover image. Here we use cover image
with 8 bit depth. When in grayscale images, PSNR is higher
than 30dB, the difference between cover image and stego
image is invisible to the human eyes [10]. A large PSNR value
indicates that pixel values of stego image are very close to
those of cover image.


(a) (b)

(c) (d)
Fig. 4 covers images with size 512512. a)Lena, b)Baboon, c)Pepper, d)
Barbara.

In our experimental results, the embedding capacity of cover
image has been selected in a way that all blocks of cover image
is used for embedding secret bits.
In Fig. 5, maximum system module in Chang et al. method
is compared with our proposed method. As we can see in this
figure, as the capacity of each block increase, the maximum
module in our method decreases more than Chang et al.s
method. Decreasing the module in our method indicates that
the distortion of stego pixels will decrease too.
In Table II, the results of implementing Chang et al. and K-
LSB method are being compared with our proposed method. In
K-LSB method, considering that in each step, K bit of secret
data is being replaced by K least significant bit of each pixel,
maximum changes creating in each stego pixel is 2
K
-1. So it
can be concluded from Table II that the maximum distortion in
our non-adaptive method is less than two other non-adaptive
methods and the PSNR obtained in our method is higher than
others.

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Fig. 5 comparison of the maximum module on pixel ri in our proposed method
with Chang et al. method (horizontal axis is equal to the value of k and
vertical axis is equal to maximum module).

Table II
COMPARISON OF THE PSNR VALUE IN CHANG ET AL. METHOD
FOR 4 COVER IMAGES WITH THE PSNR VALUE IN OUR PROPOSED
NON-ADAPTIVE METHOD
PSNR (dB) Method capacity
(bit)
n
Cover Image with Size 512512
Barbara Pepper Baboon Lena
54.14 54.16 54.14 54.13 Chang 131072 1
54.14 54.16 54.14 54.13 Our
51.53 51.52 51.52 51.52 Chang 262144 2
51.53 51.52 51.52 51.52 Our
48.12 48.12 48.14 48.14 Chang 33216 3
48.12 48.12 48.14 48.14 Our
45.18 45.19 45.17 45.18 Chang 524288 4
46.55 46.55 46.55 46.56 Our
41.53 41.54 41.55 41.55 Chang 655360 5
43.63 43.66 43.66 46.64 Our
37.35 37.38 37.35 37.37 Chang 786432 6
40.28 40.27 40.27 40.27 Our
32.42 32.52 32.46 32.45 Chang 917504 7
35.61 35.50 35.64 35.62 Our

For example, assuming that the number of bits able to be
embedded in each pixel of cover image is 3 bits (total capacity
in cover image is 524288 bits), then the maximum pixel
changes creating in each block is:



Since in equation (14), square difference between
corresponding pixels in cover image and stego image is being
considered for calculating PSNR value, according to above
example and Table III, the PSNR value in our non-adaptive
method is higher than two other methods.
The sample stego image produced by Chang et al. method
and our proposed method are shown in Fig. 6. As we can see
in this figure, image quality in our method is higher than
Chang et al. method. Considering that there has been
suggested many steganalysis attack for LSB-based
steganography methods, these methods have low security. So
our proposed method is superior to K-LSB method in both the
quality and the security of stego image.

Table III
COMPARISON OF THE RESULTED PSNR VALUES IN OUR METHOD
WITH K-LSB AND CHANG ET AL. METHODS
PSNR (dB) Capacity Cover
Our
Proposed
Method
Chang et
al. [7]
Method
K-LSB
[4]
Method
(bit) Images
( 215 215 )
51.52 51.52 51.15 262144 Lena
46.56 45.18 44.15 524288
40.27 37.37 37.92 786432
51.52 51.52 51.14 262144 Baboon
46.55 45.17 44.15 524288
40.27 37.35 37.92 786432
51.52 51.52 51.13 262144 Pepper
46.55 45.19 44.15 524288
40.27 37.38 37.92 768432



(a)

(b) (c)
Fig. 6 a) Cover image of 'Lena'. b) Resulted stego image using Chang et al.
method with the capacity of 1048576 bit. c) Resulted stego image using our
proposed method with the capacity of 1048576 bit.

V. CONCLUSION
In this paper a new non-adaptive steganography method
was suggested for embedding the secret data in cover images.
In this paper we could decrease distortions resulting from
embedding secret bits in cover image pixels in Chang et al.
method and increasing the quality of stego image by reducing
the module of embedding and pixel changes. Implementation
result in section IV, confirms that using our proposed method,
the stego image quality is improved.
REFRENCES
[1] P. Bateman, "Image Steganography and Steganalysis. Hide and Seek",
IEEE Secur. Priv., 2008.
[2] A. Chedad, J. Condell, K. Curran, P.-M. Kevitt, "Digital Image
Steganography: Survey and Analysis of Current Methods", Signal
Process. , vol. 90, pp. 727752, 2010.
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International Journal of Emerging Trends in Signal Processing
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15
International Journal of Emerging Trends in Signal Processing
ISSN(Online)2319-9784, Volume 1 ,Issue 2, January 2013