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ISSN(Online): 2320-9801

ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India

Performance Comparison of Two Hybrid


Techniques for Image Steganography in
Frequency Domain
Kirti D. Nagpal1, Prof. D. S. Dabhade2
Research Scholar, Dept. of Electronics and Comm. Engineering, Agnihotri College of Engineering, Wardha, India1
Asst. Professor, Dept. of Electronics and Comm. Engineering, Agnihotri College of Engineering Wardha, India2
ABSTRACT: The digital era heralded in the development and distribution of various form of information like
photographs, music, films, etc. almost exclusively in the digital form. This not only lead to the global use of digital
multimedia but also ushered in a simultaneous rapid increase in copyright infringement and piracy. Steganography,
originated from the two Greek words- Stego & Graphy, which means Concealed Writing, is a technique to hide some
information within seemingly harmless information to avoid unwanted attention. In this paper, an image steganography
algorithm based on hybrid combination of Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT), Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT), and
Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) is proposed. In this method, the secret image can be embedded in singular values
of DCT coefficients in selected frequency sub bands of DWT technique. The quality of the imperceptibility of the
system is calculated by the Peak Signal to Noise Ratio of the watermarked image with original image. Experimental
results show that the watermarked image is indistinguishable from original image. The similarity between inserted and
extracted watermark is estimated by Normalized Correlation factor.
KEYWORDS: Image Steganography, Imperceptibility, Capacity, Robustness, PSNR, NC.
I.

INTRODUCTION

With the continual immeasurable evolution of computer networks, digital media replication is largely becoming a
cause of concern; one of the major reasons being lack of effective intellectual property protection. If such a system is in
place, then unauthorized copying and distribution can be laid to rest. In recent years, technology has empowered majority
of information involving sound, image or video to be stored in digital form. Digital media opens up newer avenues to an
average user. Digital media allows multiple digital coping and also, easy modification of its content. Another crucial
factor that also contributed to the increase of piracy is the free and untroubled traffic of information over the World Wide
Web (www). Nowadays, surfing through the internet using web browsers or acquiring information, downloading
multiple multimedia files through different search engines does not demand extraordinary skills. This beckoned an
increasing interest in the area of digital steganography as a counter measure. The Science of Concealing Information
was later to be known as Steganography [1-8]. Steganography is used for the invisible embedding of information in the
host data, with the intent information stored and transmitted together with the host data, thus retaining secret information.
Steganography can be employed with several mediums like Image, Text, Audio, Video etc. [2]. In this paper, image
steganography is implemented because of its high frequency use on internet and in our day-to-day life. Image
steganography can be implemented in spatial or frequency domain. In this paper, the proposed algorithm for Image
Steganography uses a hybrid technique which is the combination of three techniques in frequency domain. The proposed
technique combines the properties of techniques- DWT, DCT and SVD. A comparative analysis of the proposed
algorithm is done with another hybrid technique in frequency domain which is the hybrid combination of two
techniques- DWT and SVD. The comparison is made in terms of their performance to sustain to attack.
The basic layout of the image steganography system is depicted in figure 1. The host or cover image in which the
watermark or secret image is hidden is referred as Watermarked image, which should appear visibly same as that of the
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68

ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
original host image. The major requirement of the system is to hide a watermark image into a cover image such that
anyone cannot even predict that there exists some image as secret information into the cover image. Only the intended
recipient should be able to extract the secret information from the watermarked image. Now, while transmitting the
watermarked image to the desired destination, some undesired attack may cause degradation of the image. So, system
should be designed such that it should be able to sustain the attacks.

Noise attack
Cover
Image

Embed
Watermark

Watermarked
Image

Degraded
Watermarked
Image

Detect
Watermark
Image

Watermark
Image

Fig. 1 Generic Image Steganography System


II. RELATED WORK
In [1] authors have implemented image steganography over a Gray-scale and color image using a hybrid technique
formed by the combination of three techniques in frequency domain. The techniques used are DWT-DCT-SVD. In this
paper authors have found that embedding in the HL band obtained by DWT technique provides better results while
extracting the watermark image from the watermark embedded image. In papers [2], [5] and [6], authors have presented
a brief survey on various techniques used for image steganography in Spatial and Frequency domains. It is found that
image steganography implemented in frequency domain gives better robustness. Various watermarking requirements
like Robustness, Capacity, Imperceptibility etc. have been explored in paper [5]. In paper [3], authors have presented an
invisible watermarking technique in frequency domain. In this paper, a hybrid technique which is a combination of
DCT-DWT-SVD is implemented on Gray-scale image using MATLAB. The parameters calculated are MSE and
PSNR. In this paper, the PSNR value obtained is higher for the technique using DWT-DCT-SVD as compared to that
with DWT-SVD. In the paper [7], authors have presented a comparative study of Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT)
and the Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) Methods. The authors have concluded that DWT technique provides better
invisibility as compare to DCT in terms of PSNR of cover image with the watermarked image. Paper [8] makes use of
Integer Wavelet transform technique to embed the invisible watermark into Gray-scale image and Peak Signal to Noise
Ratio (PSNR) is calculated to measure efficiency of this method.
III. WATERMARKING REQUIREMENT
A digital watermark is unobtrusive information added to the digital data, acknowledged as cover information, which
can possibly be identified at a later stage to gather the secured information. A watermark needs to possess the following
features or requirements [5] in order to be effective.

Imperceptibility:
A watermark embedding procedure in steganography is truly imperceptible if the naked eye cannot visualize the
inserted watermark into the host image. Ideally, no perceptible difference between the watermarked and original signal
should exist. However, even the minimal alteration in the cover image may become apparent when the watermarked
image is compared directly with the cover image. Therefore, the modifications in the cover image must go unnoticed by
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69

ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
the viewer for which we have designed a hybrid technique using three techniques in frequency domain- DWT, DCT
and SVD [1] [2] [3] [5]. In this paper we exercise the performance characteristic Peak Signal to Noise Ratio, often
abbreviated PSNR [1] [3] to indicate the transparency degree. PSNR is used as an approximation to human perception
of reconstruction quality. PSNR can be calculated by MSE (Mean Squared Error) [2] [3]. It is nothing but the
comparison between each pixel to pixel of the embedded image and the cover image.

eq. (1)

eq. (2)
where MAX is the maximum possible pixel value of the image. When the pixels are represented using 8 bits per
sample, MAX value is 255. More generally, when samples are represented using linear PCM with B bits per sample,
MAX is 2B1.

Capacity:
Capacity is also known as payload of the image steganography system. It refers to the amount of watermark
information that can be hidden in a cover image without affecting the quality of the underlying cover image. Capacity
requirement always struggle against two other important requirements, that is, imperceptibility and robustness which is
shown in Figure 2. A higher capacity is generally obtained at the expense of either robustness strength or
imperceptibility, or both.
Robustness

Capacity

Imperceptibility
Fig. 2 Trade-off between Robustness, Imperceptibility and Capacity [4]

Robustness:
Robustness of the image steganography system accounts for the capability of the watermark to survive signal
manipulations. Apart from malicious attacks, common signal processing operations can pose a threat to the detection of
watermark, thus making it desirable to design an image steganography system that can survive those operations. In
general, there should be no way in which the watermark can be removed or altered without sufficient degradation of the
perceptual quality of the host data so as to render it unusable. In this paper, we have employed Normalized Correlation
(NC) [1] to measure the robustness of the watermark. It is given by:

eq. (3)

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ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
IV. PROPOSED ALGORITHM
a. Design Considerations:
The Image Steganography has been implemented using MATLAB 2013a software on Windows 8.1 operating
system.
The color Cover image taken is of size 512x512 and the watermark image selected is of 64x64 in size.
b. Description of the Proposed Algorithm:
Aim of the proposed algorithm is to maximize the robustness of the system against different types of attacks over
the watermarked image. The proposed algorithm consists of three main steps.

Step 1: Embedding the Watermark image into the Cover image:


Cover image refers to the image which will be visible to every person and watermark image is the secret image
that is to be embedded into the cover image such that it should be practically purely hidden. The embedding process
involves basically three techniques for Image Steganography in frequency domain. The techniques that are applied on
the cover image are: Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT), Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) and Singular Value
Decomposition (SVD). Also, SVD technique is applied on the watermark image. The singular components of the
watermark image are used to embed within the cover image with the singular values of the cover image obtained by the
hybrid technique formed by the combination of DWT-DCTSVD. Reverse technique of DCT and DWT is applied. The
performance of the embedding system is calculated by the parameter Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR) as shown in
eq. (2).
Step 2: Extracting the Watermark image from the Watermarked image:
Watermarked image refers to the image obtained by embedding the watermark image into the cover image.
Extracting the Watermark image from the Cover image is the major issue of the system. To extract the watermark, the
same watermarked image is taken over which same three techniques- DWT, DCT and SVD are implemented.
Performance of the extraction process in terms of recovery of the watermark image is evaluated by the parameterNormalization Coefficient (NC). The formula for calculation of NC is given in the eq. (3).
Step 3: Testing the Robustness of the system against different attacks:
The watermarked image is tested against attacks such as Sharpening, Resize (By Half) and Gaussian Blur.
Robustness of the image steganography system is evaluated on the basis of NC value obtained after extracting the
watermark from the attacked watermarked image in terms of the similarity between the original watermark and the
watermark extracted from the attacked watermarked image.

The detailed algorithm for DWT-DCT-SVD technique is as follows:


Watermark Embedding Algorithm:
Step 1: Read the cover image and decompose it into RGB color channels.
Step 2: Apply DWT and separate into various frequency bands.
Step 3: Select the frequency band and divide it into smaller blocks of size 4x4.
Step 4: Apply DCT to each 4x4 block.
Step 5: Extract the DC coefficients from each block, and form a new matrix C.
Step 6: Apply SVD on matrix C, such that
C = U * SIMG * VT
Step 7: Read the watermark image (W) and decompose it using SVD technique.
UWSWVW = SVD (W)
Step 8: Modify the singular values of C matrix (cover image) by using the singular values of watermark.
S1= SIMG + * SW
Step 9: Combine the modified singular values with the orthogonal matrices of C,
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ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
S2 = U * S1 * VT
Step 10: Replace the original DC matrix coefficients with the modified new components.
Step 11: Apply inverse DCT and then inverse DWT.
Step 12: Recombine the RGB components and the watermarked image is formed.

B.
Watermark Extracting Algorithm:
Step 1: Convert the watermarked image into RGB color spaces.
Step 2: Apply DWT to decompose the cover image in which watermark is hidden.
Step 3: Divide middle frequency band into smaller 4x4 blocks and apply DCT to each block.
Step 4: Extract the DC coefficients from every DCT transformed blocks and construct a new matrix C, which could
be decomposed by SVD technique.
Step 5: Extract the singular values from C matrix, and then compare the difference between the watermarked
singular values and host image singular values.
Step 6: Combine the obtained singular values with the orthogonal matrices of watermark. The watermark is
extracted.
V. SIMULATION RESULTS
The proposed image steganography algorithm is implemented with Graphical User Interface (GUI) designed in
MATLAB 2013a.The simulation study involves calculation of PSNR and NC values while embedding and extracting
the watermark image respectively for both the hybrid techniques. Proposed algorithm which is the combination of three
techniques DWT-DCT-SVD is compared with the hybrid technique obtained by the combination of two techniques in
frequency domain- DWT-SVD [4] in terms of PSNR and NC values. We considered the same images of same size to
evaluate the performance of both the hybrid techniques. Selected embedding intensity value () is 0.25 and the results
shown are implemented with HL band obtained by applying DWT technique over cover image.
Without attack:
Table I: PSNR (in dB) and NC values for hybrid technique using DWT-DCT-SVD in HL band without attack
DWT-DCT-SVD
Cover image

Watermark

PSNR (dB)

36.8469

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NC

Watermarked
Image

Extracted
Watermark

0.998921

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ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
Table II: PSNR (in dB) and NC values for hybrid technique using DWT-SVD in HL band without attack
DWT -SVD
Cover image

Watermark

PSNR (dB)

35.1997

Watermarked
Image

NC

Extracted
Watermark

0.998981

With attack:
The information about robustness of the system to different attacks is obtained from Normalized Correlation values
between original and extracted watermark image. The robustness of both the hybrid techniques using DWT-DCT-SVD
and DWT-SVD have been tested against three types of attacks over the same cover and watermark image. The
comparative analysis of the performance of both the hybrid techniques is as shown in the table III.
Table III: Comparative analysis of both the hybrid techniques without attack
DWT-DCT-SVD

DWT-SVD

PSNR

NC

PSNR

NC

36.8469

0.998921

35.1997

0.998981

30.7657

0.997639

29.7462

0.981333

33.1021

0.997788

30.9958

0.986613

VI. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK


In this paper, the image steganography have been implemented using two hybrid techniques which are the
combination of DCT-DWT-SVD and DWT-SVD using MATLAB 2013a software. The PSNR and NC values obtained
are found to be good in case of both the hybrid techniques. The simulation results showed that the proposed algorithm
using DWT-DCT-SVD has high robustness as compared to that with DWT-SVD since Normalization Coefficient (NC)
value obtained is higher for the technique using DWT-DCT-SVD while extracting the watermark image after getting
attacked by various attacks. The future work is to improve the capacity of the system.
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Kirti D. Nagpal, Prof. D. S. Dabhade, Analysis of Wavelet Based Digital Image Steganography using Hybrid Technique in Frequency
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Kirti D. Nagpal, Prof. D. S. Dabhade, A Survey on Image Steganography & its Techniques in Spatial & Frequency Domain, International
Journal on Recent and Innovation Trends in Computing and Communication, Volume: 3 Issue: 2, February 2015

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ISSN(Online): 2320-9801
ISSN (Print): 2320-9798

International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer and Communication Engineering


An ISO 3297: 2007 Certified Organization

Vol.3, Special Issue 6, August 2015

National Conference on Advanced Technologies in Computer Science & Information Technology (NCATCSIT 2015)

Organized by
Dept. of CSE & Dept. of R&D, Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology, A.P, India
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