High-payload secret hiding mechanism for QR codes

  • Peng-Cheng Huang
  • Chin-Chen ChangEmail author
  • Yung-Hui Li
  • Yanjun Liu


QR code is an important approach of information transmission and is widely used in our daily life. As a public patent, the message embeded in a QR code can be easily decoded by any QR code reader, thus can lead to information leaks when delivering the secret message with QR code. To overcome this weakness, we exploited the characteristics of Reed-Solomon code and turtle shell matrix to propose a simple yet efficient data embedding mechanism to hide secret messages in the QR code while maintaining the marked QR code valid. Different from the traditional schemes, the proposed scheme of this paper hides the secret messages without sacrificing the error correction capacity of QR code and is able to achieve a higher secret payload. Meanwhile, the public message of generated marked QR code still can be decoded by standard QR code reader. Such nature will reduce the risk due to the curiosity of the malicious users. Experiments were performed to evaluate the performance of the proposed scheme. Experimental results showed that the proposed scheme is robust to several common image attacks.


Secret hiding QR code Turtle shell Reed-Solomon code 



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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceXiamen University of TechnologyXiamenChina
  2. 2.Department of Information Engineering and Computer ScienceFeng Chia UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Computer Science and Information EngineeringNational Central UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan

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