Improving embedding efficiency for digital steganography by exploiting similarities between secret and cover images

  • Alan A. AbdullaEmail author
  • Harin Sellahewa
  • Sabah A. Jassim


Digital steganography is becoming a common tool for protecting sensitive communications in various applications such as crime/terrorism prevention whereby law enforcing personals need to remotely compare facial images captured at the scene of crime with faces databases of known criminals/suspects; exchanging military maps or surveillance video in hostile environment/situations; privacy preserving in the healthcare systems when storing or exchanging patient’s medical images/records; and prevent bank customers’ accounts/records from being accessed illegally by unauthorized users. Existing digital steganography schemes for embedding secret images in cover image files tend not to exploit various redundancies in the secret image bit-stream to deal with the various conflicting requirements on embedding capacity, stego-image quality, and undetectibility. This paper is concerned with the development of innovative image procedures and data hiding schemes that exploit, as well as increase, similarities between secret image bit-stream and the cover image LSB plane. This will be achieved in two novel steps involving manipulating both the secret and the cover images, prior to embedding, to achieve higher 0:1 ratio in both the secret image bit-stream and the cover image LSB plane. The above two steps strategy has been exploited to use a bit-plane(s) mapping technique, instead of bit-plane(s) replacement to make each cover pixel usable for secret embedding. This paper will demonstrate that this strategy produces stego-images that have minimal distortion, high embedding efficiency, reasonably good stego-image quality and robustness against 3 well-known targeted steganalysis tools.


Steganography Steganalysis Security Embedding efficiency Least significant bit (LSB) 



  1. 1.
    Abdulla AA (2015) Exploiting similarities between secret and cover images for improved embedding efficiency and security in digital steganography. PhD dissertation, Dept. of Applied Computing, Buckingham Univ., Buckingham, UK.
  2. 2.
    Abdulla AA, Jassim SA, Sellahewa H (2013) Efficient high-capacity steganography technique. Proc. SPIE Electronic Imaging Security Forensics Steganography and Watermarking of Multimedia ContentsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abdulla AA, Sellahewa H, Jassim SA (2014) Stego quality enhancement by message size reduction and Fibonacci bit-plane mapping. International Conference on Research in Security Standardisation Research (SSR), Springer, UK, p 151–166Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Abdulla AA, Sellahewa H, Jassim SA (2014) Steganography based on pixel intensity value decomposition. Proc. SPIE Electronic Imaging Security Forensics Steganography and Watermarking of Multimedia ContentsGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Alharbi F (2013) Novel steganography system using Lucas sequence. Int J Adv Comput Sci Appl 4:52–58Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Aroukatos N, Manes K, Zimeras S, Georgiakodis F (2012) Data hiding techniques in steganography using fibonacci and catalan numbers. International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations (ITNG), IEEE, p 392–396Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bas P, Filler T, Pevny T (2011) “Break our steganographic system”: the ins and outs of organizing BOSS International Workshop on information hiding, Springer, vol. 6958, p 59–70Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bhattacharyya D, Dutta J, Das P, Bandyopadhyay R, Bandyopadhyay SK, Kim T-H (2009) Discrete fourier transformation based image authentication technique. 8th IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Informatics( ICCI'09), p 196–200Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Calderbank A, Daubechies I, Sweldens W, Yeo B-L (1997) Lossless image compression using integer to integer wavelet transforms. International Conference on Image Processing, ICIP, p 596–599Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chan C-S (2009) On using LSB matching function for data hiding in pixels. Fundamenta Informaticae 96:49–59Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen P-Y, Lin H-J et al (2006) A DWT based approach for image steganography. International Journal of Applied Science and Engineering 4(3):275–290Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cox IJ, Kalker T, Pakura G, Scheel M (2005) Information transmission and steganography. Proceeding of the 4th International Workshop on Digital Watermarking, Springer, vol. 3710, p 15–29Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cox I, Miller M, Bloom J, Fridrich J, Kalker T (2007) Digital watermarking and steganography. Morgan Kauffman, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Crandall R (1998) Some notes on steganography. Posted on steganography mailing listGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dey S, Abraham A, Sanyal S (2007) An LSB Data Hiding Technique Using Prime Numbers. Third International Symposium on Information Assurance and Security, IAS 2007, IEEE, p 101–108Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dey S, Abraham A, Sanyal S (2007) An LSB Data Hiding Technique Using Natural Number Decomposition. Third International Conference on Intelligent Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing, IIHMSP 2007, IEEE, vol. 2, p 473–476Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fridrich J, Goljan M (2004) On estimation of secret message length in LSB steganography in spatial domain. Proc. SPIE Electronic Imaging Security Forensics Steganography and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents, p 23–34Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fridrich J, Lisonek P, Soukal D (2007) On steganographic embedding efficiency. International Workshop on information hiding. Springer, p 282–296Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Iranpour M, Farokhian F (2013) Minimal distortion steganography using well-defined functions. 10th International Conference on high Capacity Optical Networks and Enabling Technologies (HONET-CNS), Magosa, Cyprus, p 21–24Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ker AD (2005) Improved detection of LSB steganography in grayscale images. International Workshop on information hiding. Springer, p 97–115Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ker AD (2005) A general framework for structural steganalysis of LSB replacement. International Workshop on information hiding, Springer,vol. 3427, p 296–311Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ker AD, Bohme R (2008) Revisiting weighted stego-image steganalysis. Proc. SPIE Electronic Imaging Security Forensics Steganography and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents, vol. 6819Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ker AD, Bas P, Bohme R, Cogranne R, Craver S, Filler T, Fridrich J, Pevny T (2013) Moving steganography and steganalysis from the laboratory into the real world. Proceedings of the first ACM workshop on Information hiding and multimedia security, p 45–58Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lin G-S, Chan Y-T, Lie W-N (2010) A framework of enhancing image steganography with picture quality optimization and anti-steganalysis based on simulated annealing algorithm. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 12:345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lin Y-T, Wang C-M, Chen W-S, Lin F-P, Lin W (2017) A novel data hiding algorithm for high dynamic range images. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 19:196–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Luo W, Huang F, Huang J (2010) Edge adaptive image steganography based on LSB matching revisited. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security 5:201–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mielikainen J (2006) LSB matching revisited. IEEE Signal Processing Letters 13:285–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Picione DDL, Battisti F, Carli M, Astola J, Egiazarian K (2006) A Fibonacci LSB data hiding tecnique. 14th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), p 1–5Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sharp T (2001) An implementation of key-based digital signal steganography. International Workshop on information hiding. Springer, p 13–26Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Viterbi U (1981) USC-SIPI image database. USC University of Southren CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Westfeld A (2001) F5—a steganographic algorithm. International Workshop on Information hiding, Springer, USA, p 289–302Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Zhang T, Ping X (2003) Reliable detection of LSB steganography based on the difference image histogram. AIEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, 2003. Proceedings. (ICASSP'03), vol. 1, p 54–548Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan A. Abdulla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harin Sellahewa
    • 2
  • Sabah A. Jassim
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Information Technology, College of CommerceUniversity of SulaimaniSulaimaniIraq
  2. 2.Applied Computing DepartmentUniversity of BuckinghamBuckinghamUK

Personalised recommendations