No Tradeoff between Confidentiality and Performance: An Analysis on H.264/SVC Partial Encryption

  • Zhuo Wei
  • Xuhua Ding
  • Robert Huijie Deng
  • Yongdong Wu
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7394)


Partial encryption is often used as a tradeoff between security and performance to protect scalable video data. In this paper, we argue that although partial encryption is strong enough for access control, it is not adequate for content confidentiality protection. We conduct experiments to show that partially encrypted H.264/SVC (scalable video coding) streams leak significant content information from the enhancement layers in all three scalability dimensions. Our analysis concludes that such leakage is caused by the underlying coding techniques used in H.264/SVC, and all layers should be encrypted to protect confidential video streams.


Scalable Video Coding H.264/SVC Partial Encryption 


  1. 1.
    Li, W.: Overview of Fine Granularity Scalability in MPEG-4 Video Standard. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and System for Video Technology 11(3), 301–317 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Schwarz, H., Marpe, D., Wiegand, T.: Overview of the scalable video coding extension of the h.264/avc standard. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and System for Video Technology 17(9), 1103–1120 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wien, M., Schwarz, H., Oelbaum, T.: Performance Analysis of SVC. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and System for Video Technology 17(9), 1194–1203 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sohn, H., De Neve, W., Ro, Y.M.: Region-of-interest scrambling for scalable surveillance video using JPEG XR. ACM Multimedia, 861–864 (2009)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sohn, H., De Neve, W., Ro, Y.M.: Privacy Protection in Video Surveillance Systems: Analysis of Subband-Adaptive Scrambling in JPEG XR. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Techn. 21(2), 170–177 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yuan, C., Zhu, B.B., Wang, Y., Li, S., Zhong, Y.: Efficient and fully scalable encryption for MPEG-4 FGS. In: ISCAS, vol. (2), pp. 620–623 (2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zhu, B.B., Yuan, C., Wang, Y., Li, S.: Scalable protection for MPEG-4 fine granularity scalability. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 7(2), 222–233 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shahid, Z., Chaumont, M., Puech, W.: Selective and scalable encryption of enhancement layers for dyadic scalable H.264/AVC by scrambling of scan patterns. In: ICIP, pp. 1273–1276 (2009)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Algin, G., Tunali, E.: Scalable video encryption of H.264 SVC Codec. J. Visual Communication and Image Representation (JVCIR) 22(4), 353–364 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tosun, A., Feng, W.: Efficient Multi-layer Coding and Encryption of MPEG Video Streams. In: IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (I), pp. 119–122 (2000)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Li, C., Zhou, X., Zhong, Y.: Nal Level Encryption for Scalable Video Coding. In: PCM, pp. 496–505 (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Li, C., Yuan, C., Zhong, Y.: Layered Encryption for Scalable Video Coding. In: 2nd International Congress on Image and Signal Processing, pp. 1–4 (2009)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zeng, W., Lei, S.: Efficient Frequency Domain Selective Scrambling of Digital Video. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 5(1), 118–129 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Liu, F., Koenig, H.: A Survey of Video Encrytpion Algorithms. Computer & Security 29(1), 3–15 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zhu, B., Swanson, M., Li, S.: Encryption and Authentication for Scalable Multimedia: Current State of the Art and Chanllenges. In: Internet Multimedia Management Systems V, pp. 157–170 (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Liu, X., Eskicioglu, A.: Selective Encryption of Multimedia Content in Distribution Network: Chanllenges and New Directions. In: 2nd IASTED Int. Conf. on Comm., Internet, and Info. Technol., pp. 527–533 (2003)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yu, H.: An Overview on Scalable Encrytpion for Wireless Multimedia Access. Internet Quality of Service, 24–34 (2003)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lian, S.: Multimedia Content Encryption: Techniques and Applications 29(1), 121–130 (2008)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Stütz, T., Uhl, A.: A survey of h.264 avc/svc encryption. IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. Video Techn. 22(3), 325–339 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rivest, R.L.: The RC4 Encryption Algorithm. RSA Data Security, Inc. (March 12, 1992)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Park, S.-W., Shin, S.-U.: Combined scheme of encryption and watermarking in h.264/scalable video coding (svc). New Directions in Intelligent Interactive Multimedia, 351–361 (2008)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Park, S.-W., Shin, S.-U.: Efficient selective encryption scheme for the h.264/scalable video coding(svc). In: NCM, pp. 371–376 (2008)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Park, S.-W., Shin, S.-U.: An efficient encryption and key management scheme for layered access control of h.264/scalable video coding. IEICE Transactions (IEICET) 92-D(5), 851–858 (2009)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hong, G.-M., Yuan, C., Wang, Y., Zhong, Y.-Z.: A Quality-Controllable Encryption for H.264/AVC Video Coding. In: Zhuang, Y.-t., Yang, S.-Q., Rui, Y., He, Q. (eds.) PCM 2006. LNCS, vol. 4261, pp. 510–517. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
    Engel, K., Hadwiger, M., Kniss, J.M., Rezk-Salama, C., Weiskopf, D.: Real-time volume graphics, pp. I–XVII, 1–497. A K Peters (2006)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mao, Y., Wu, M.: Security evaluation for communication-friendly encryption of multimedia. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (2004)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kunkelmann, T., Horn, U.: Video Encryption Based on Data Partitioning and Scalable Coding - A Comparison. In: Plagemann, T., Goebel, V. (eds.) IDMS 1998. LNCS, vol. 1483, pp. 95–106. Springer, Heidelberg (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Agi, I., Gong, L.: An Empirical Study of Secure MPEG Video Transmissions. In: ISOC-SNDSS, pp. 137–144 (1996)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kulkarni, N.S., Raman, B., Gupta, I.: Multimedia Encryption: A Brief Overview. In: Grgic, M., Delac, K., Ghanbari, M. (eds.) Recent Advances in Multimedia Signal Processing and Communications. SCI, vol. 231, pp. 417–449. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhuo Wei
    • 1
  • Xuhua Ding
    • 1
  • Robert Huijie Deng
    • 1
  • Yongdong Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Information SystemsSingapore Management UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.Institute for Infocomm ResearchSingapore

Personalised recommendations