A Comprehensive Study of Visual Cryptography

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Visual cryptography (VC) is a powerful technique that combines the notions of perfect ciphers and secret sharing in cryptography with that of raster graphics. VC takes a binary image (the secret) and divides it into two or more pieces known as shares. When the shares are printed on transparencies and then superimposed, the secret can be recovered. No computer participation is required, thus demonstrating one of the distinguishing features of VC. VC is a unique technique in the sense that the encrypted message can be decrypted directly by the human visual system (HVS). In this survey, we will summarize the latest developments of visual cryptography since its inception in 1994, introduce the main research topics in this area and outline the current problems and possible solutions. Directions and trends for future VC work shall also be examined along with possible VC applications.