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8, November 2010

**A Generalization of the PVD Steganographic Method
**

M.B. Ould MEDENI and El Mamoun SOUIDI

Laboratory of Mathematic Informatics and Applications University Mohammed V-Agdal, Faculty of Sciences Rabat ,BP 1014, Morocco Email : sbaimedeni@yahoo.fr, souidi@fsr.ac.ma

Abstract—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 twopixel differencing and use the LSB Substitution to hide the secret message in the cover image

Keywords: Steganography, Watermarking, Least Signiﬁcant Bit(LSB), PVD method, Digital Images, Information Hiding,Pixel-value differencing. I. I NTRODUCTION Steganography is the art of stealth communication. Its purpose is to make communication undetectable. The steganography problem is also known as the prisoners’ dilemma formulated by Simmons [4]. Alice and Bob are imprisoned and want to hatch an escape plan. They are allowed to communicate via a channel monitored by a warden. If the warden ﬁnds out that they are communicating secretly, he throws them into solitary conﬁnement. Thus, the prisoners need to design a method to exchange messages without raising the warden’s suspicion. The prisoners hide their messages in innocuous-looking cover objects by slightly modifying them (obtaining stego objects). The embedding process is usually driven by a stego key, which is a secret shared between Alice and Bob. It is typically used to select a subset of the cover object and the order in which the cover object elements are visited during embedding. The most important property of any steganographic communication is statistical undetectability. In other words, the warden should not be able to distinguish between cover and stego objects. Formal description of this requirement in information-theoretic terms was given by Cachin [5]. If the communication channel that Alice and Bob use is distortion-free, we speak about the passive warden scenario. The most common and well-known steganographic method is called least signiﬁcant bit (LSB) substitution, which embeds secret data by replacing k LSBs of a pixel with k secret bits directly [1]. Many optimized LSB methods have been proposed to improve this work [2], [3]. The human perceptibility has a property that it is sensitive to some changes in the pixels of the smooth areas, while it is not sensitive to changes in the edge areas. Not all pixels in a cover image can tolerate

equal amount of changes without causing noticeable distortion. Hence, to improve the quality of stego images, several adaptive methods have been proposed in which the amount of bits to be embedded in each pixel is variable. Wu and Tsai proposed a novel steganographic method that uses the difference value between two neighboring pixels to determine how many secret bits should be embedded [7]. In contrary : Steganalysis methods attempt to detect Stegoimage and extract it. Inserting secret bits in image changes some statistics of image, this opens some roads to detect Stegoimage. So the changes made by Steganographic are a key performance metric ; lower change : more robust algorithm. It is evident that the changes in cover image are related to the volume of inserted bit, so Stego-images with higher insertion rate are detected more easily. Stegananalysis methods generally are divided in two main groups: active and passive methods. In passive methods only presence or absence of hidden data is considered, while in active methods a inserted data is extracted [8]. Furthermore, different steganalysis methods, depending on steganography algorithms they target, can be classiﬁed in two groups : Modelbased (Speciﬁc) and Universal Steganalysis. The aim of this work is to generalize the PVD method [7] With four-pixel differencing instead of two-pixel differencing and LSB Substitution. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 gives a brief introduction to Steganography and Data Hiding Methods.We construct our approach and report on experimental results in section 3 and 4. Section 5 gives a conclusion. II. D IGITAL I MAGES IN S TEGANOGRAPHY A. Digital Images A digital image at the most abstract level is a twodimensional array of colored pixels or dots. When these pixels are displayed on a high-resolution monitor and viewed at an appropriate distance, they appear to be a continuously colored image. Each pixel is a certain color which is typically deﬁned, using the redgreen- blue (RGB) color model, as a combination of varying amounts of red, green, and blue light. A color image is therefore said to contain three bands, each of which represents the amount of red, green, or blue light in the image. Whereas a color image contains color and intensity information, a gray-scale image is composed of

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pixels that vary only in intensity, not color. Gray-scale images therefore have only a single band. Without loss of generality, the remaining discussion will focus on gray-scale images. The discussion is easily extended to cover color images by noting that a color image is the composition of three individual grayscale images representing the red, green and blue bands. The typical gray-scale image has an 8-bit depth which is sufﬁcient to represent 256 unique intensity values ranging from black to white [9]. A brief review of binary representation will be instructive when interpreting bit-level pixel data in the context of a digital image. An 8-bit binary numeral has the general form A7 27 + A6 26 + ... + A1 21 + A0 20 where An represents a single binary digit. In a digital image it is clear that A7 is the most signiﬁcant bit and indicates whether the pixel value is greater than 127. A common means of converting a grayscale image to a binary (i.e. black-andwhite) image is to extract the A7 bit from each pixel. By contrast, A0 embodies relatively little information and, in the context of a digital image, can generally be understood as a noise 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 two important properties: good visual/statistical imperceptibility and a sufﬁcient payload. The ﬁrst is essential for the security of hidden communication and the second ensures that a large quantity of data can be conveyed [10]. Two levels of protection can be done if the message is encrypted before hiding it, so it must be decrypted before reading it. Invisible watermarking is treated as a subset of steganography [10].

The difference is that steganography conceals a message so that this hidden message is the object of the communication where in watermarking; the hidden message provides important information about the cover media, such as authentication or copyright. Steganography, in the simplest case, capitalizes on this overabundance of information by replacing the noise channels (i.e. the least signiﬁcant bit channels) with an arbitrary secret message. Figure 1 gives an overview of a steganographic process ﬂow. A source image, hereafter referred to as a cover, is viewed as 8 information carrying channels. A secret message is spread over the least signiﬁcant channels (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 resembles the 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] segments the cover image into nonoverlapping blocks containing two connecting pixels and modiﬁes the pixel difference in each block (pair) for data embedding. A larger difference in the original pixel values allows a greater modiﬁcation. The hiding algorithm is described as follows: 1) Calculate the difference value di for each block of two consecutive pixels Pi and Pi+1 , di = Pi+1 − Pi 2) Find the optimal Ri of the di such that Ri = min(ui − k), where ui ≥ k, k = |di | and Ri ∈ [li , ui ] 3) Decide t bits of secret data which are hidden with each di , i.e. each block of two consecutive pixels is deﬁned as t = log2 (wi ) where wi is the width of the Ri 4) Read t bits binary secret data one by one according to Step 3, and then transform t into decimal value b. For instance, assume a binary secret data is 101, then b = 5. 5) Calculate the new difference value di using: di = li + b, for di ≥ 0 or di = −(li + b), for di < 0 6) Pi and Pi+1 are modiﬁed to hide t secret data by the following formula: (Pi , Pi+1 ) = (Pi − m , Pi+1 + m ) 2 2 : di ∈ odd or (Pi , Pi+1 ) = (Pi − m , Pi+1 + m ) : 2 2 di ∈ even where m = di − di . Finally, we compute the values of (Pi , Pi+1 ) which represent the secret data. 7) Repeat Steps 1-6, until all secret data are hidden into the 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 as used to the cover image. The extraction phase is implemented as follows: 1) Calculate the difference value di between each two successive pixels for each block (Pi , Pi+1 ) from the following formula : di = |Pi+1 − Pi | 2) Find the optimum Ri of the di just as in Step 2 in the hiding phase. 3) Obtain b by subtracting li from di . The b value represents the value of the secret data in decimal. 4) Convert b into binary then ﬁnd number of bits t from the secret data, where t = log2 (wi ) [7]

Fig. 1. Embedding of a secret message into the three least signiﬁcant channels of a cover image

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IV. P ROPOSED S TEGANOGRAPHY S CHEME In this section we discuss the proposed approach 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 (8 × 8). Our proposed method adaptively embeds messages using two levels (lower-level and higherlevel), and the square of median value M is used to partition the average difference D into two levels. If D < M , D belongs to ”lower-level” (i.e., the block belongs to a smooth area). 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-pixel blocks. For each block, there are four neighboring pixels pi,j , pi,j+1 , pi+1,j , pi+1,j+1 , and their corresponding gray values are y1 , y2 , y3 and y4 , respectively. 1) Divide the cover into blocks of equal sizes 8 × 8 2) Calculate the square root of median for each block. M = (median) 3) Calculate the average difference value D, which is given 3 1 by D = 3 i=0 (yi+1 − yi ) 4) IF D ≥ M , then embed Message in pi,j , pi,j+1 , pi+1,j , pi+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 secret message in the least part according to the corresponding number of bits in Table 1.

V. E XPERIMENTAL RESULTS Several experiments are preformed to evaluate our proposed method. Ten gray-scale images with size 512×512 are used in the experiments as cover images, and three of them are shown in Fig. 3. A series of pseudo-random numbers as the secret bit streams are embedded into the cover images. The peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR) is utilized to evaluate the quality of the stego image. For an M ×N gray-scale image, the PSNR value is deﬁned as follows: 255 × 255 × M × N (dB) P SN R = 10 × log10 M N 2 j=1 (Pij − Qij ) i=1 where Pij and Qij denote the pixel values in row i and column j of the cover image and the stego image, respectively. In this section we present the experimental results of stego-image on three will known images: Lena, Pepper, and Baboon images. These images are shown in Figs 3. The quality of stego-image created by our proposed method are shown in Figs.4. As the ﬁgures show, distortions resulted from embedding are imperceptible to human vision. We present also a comparative study of the proposed methods with PVD method. We have analyzed our results according to PVD method for each of the tested images. We also analyzed our results by computing 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 the cover-image is shown in Table 2
**

Fig. 2. Split Process.

Image Lena

Image size 128 × 128 255 × 255 512 × 512 1024 × 1024 128 × 128 255 × 255 512 × 512 1024 × 1024 128 × 128 255 × 255 512 × 512 1024 × 1024

number of 1 in the most part 4 or 3 2 1 or 0

number of Bits to be embedded 3 bits 2 bits 1

Peppers

The recipient uses the extraction algorithm in order to extract the secret message from the stego-image. Extracting secret message is done in the same way as in the embedded operation, depending on the value of the median: M = (median). If the average difference value D is more than the value of M then extract the message depending on the rule in Table 1.

Baboon

Data size (PVD) 2048 8192 32768 131072 2048 8192 32768 131072 2048 8192 32768 131072

Data size (Proposed Method) 2493 10007 40017 160604 2560 10211 40990 163724 2443 9767 39034 156308

Figure. 4 shows the amount of messages hidden in the 3 cover images. Three stego images (a) Lena (embedded 40017 bits, P SN R = 42.68dB) (b) Peppers (embedded 40990

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bits, P SN R = 43.23dB) (c) Baboon (embedded 39034 bits, P SN R = 37.71dB).

Fig. 4.

Three stego images : (a) Lena (b) Peppers (c) Baboon.

VI. C ONCLUSION In this paper, we have proposed a novel steganographic method based on four-pixel differencing and LSB substitution. Secret data are hidden into each pixel by the k-bit LSB substitution method, where k is decided by the number of 1 in the most part for pixel. Experimental results showed that the proposed method gave best values for the PSNR measure, which means that there is no difference between the original, and the stegano-images. R EFERENCES

[1] D.W. Bender, N.M. Gruhl, A. Lu, : Techniques for data hiding, IBM Syst. J. 35 (1996) 313-316 [2] R.Z. Wang, C.F. Lin, J.C. Lin, Image hiding by optimal LSB substitution and genetic algorithm, Pattern Recognit. 34 (3) (2001) 671-683. [3] I.C. Lin, Y.B. Lin, C.M. Wang,: , Hiding data in spatial domain images with distortion tolerance, Comput. Stand. Inter. 31 (2) (2009) 458-464. [4] G. J. Simmons : The prisoners problem and the subliminal channel, in Advances in Cryptology, pp. 5167, Plenum Press, New York, NY, USA, 1984. [5] C. Cachin : An information-theoretic model for steganography, in D. Aucsmith (ed.): Information Hiding. 2nd International Workshop, LNCS vol. 1525, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (1998), 306-318. [6] Y. Kim, Z. Duric, D. Richards : Modiﬁed matrix encoding technique for minimal distortion steganography, In: Camenisch, J.L., Collberg, C.S., Johnson, N.F., Sallee, P. (eds.) IH 2006. LNCS, vol. 4437, pp. 314-327 (2007). [7] D. C. Wu and W. H. Tsai, : A steganographic method for images by pixelvalue differencing, Pattern Recognition Letters, 24(9-10), pp.16131626, 2003. [8] A. Westfeld and A. Pﬁtzmann : Attacks on Steganographic Systems, 3rd International Workshop. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol.1768. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York (2000) 61-75. [9] Kenny Hunt : A Java Framework for Experimentation with Steganography, ACM SIGCSE Bulletin Proceedings Volume 37 Issue 1, 2005. pp.282-286 [10] C. C. Chang, W. L. Tai, and C. C. Lin : A novel image hiding scheme based on VQ and Hamming distance, Fundamenta Informaticae, vol. 77, no. 3, pp. 217-228, 2007. [11] M. B. Medeni and El. Souidi : A Novel Steganographic Protocol from Error-correcting Codes, Journal of Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing, Volume 1, Number 4, October 2010, pp 337-343..

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UsefulNot usefulIn 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 equa...

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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