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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

Color Image Steganography Technique Using


Daubechies Discrete Wavelet Transform
Ajaya Shrestha Dr. Arun Timalsina
Department of Electronics and Computer Department of Electronics and Computer
ACEM IOE, Central Campus
Kupondole-2, Lalitpur, Nepal Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal
ajaya.shrestha@gmail.com t.arun@ioe.edu.np

Abstract— The world in modern days is being more and more tied covering them with wax, and tattooing a shaved messenger's
up to the use of technology for facilitating day to day tasks. In this head, letting his hair grow back, and then shaving it again
regard, information security is turning to be great challenge when when he arrived at his contact point.
sending information from one place to another with the aid of
technology. Steganography is one of the techniques for the safe The advantage of steganography over cryptography alone is
transmission which involves hiding information generally with other that the intended secret message does not attract attention to
information that only the receiver will know. In this research, itself as an object of scrutiny. Plainly visible encrypted
steganography technique using Daubechies Discrete Wavelet messages no matter how unbreakable will arouse interest, and
Transform (DWT) is implemented. First the cover image is may in themselves be incriminating in countries
transformed using Daubechies DWT and secret information is where encryption is illegal. Thus, whereas cryptography is the
embedded in coefficients of Daubechies DWT which gives stego practice of protecting the contents of a message alone,
image. Reverse process is applied to obtain secret information from steganography is concerned with concealing the fact that a
stego image. The performance of the proposed approach is evaluated secret message is being sent, as well as concealing the contents
using PSNR and MSE. Also analysis is done to find the best sub-band of the message.
to hide information among different sub-bands of Daubechies DWT.
Secret Image
Keywords—Stego Image; Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT);
Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR); Mean Square Error (MSE)

I. INTRODUCTION Embedding Extraction


Stego Image
Function Function
Transmission of information from one place to another always
has potential threats of being leaked before it reaches the
destination. Especially when one has to transmit secure and
Cover Image Secret Image
confidential message, this risk is always high. To address
these threats, people always seek and invent technologies for
Fig. 1. Basic Block Diagram of Steganography
securely transmitting messages. One of the techniques is
information hiding. II. RELATED THEORY
There are many techniques of information hiding including A. Discrete Wavelet Transform
cryptography, watermarking and steganography.
Cryptography is art of protecting information by transforming The wavelet domain is growing up very quickly. Wavelets
or encrypting it into an unreadable format, called cipher text. have been utilized as a powerful tool in many diverse fields,
Only those who possess a secret key can decipher or decrypt including approximation theory; signal processing, physics,
the message into plain. Watermarking is a pattern astronomy, and image processing. A wavelet is simply, a
of bits inserted into a digital image, audio or video file that small wave which has its energy concentrated in time to give a
identifies the file's copyright information (author, rights, etc.) tool for the analysis of transient, non-stationary or time-
varying phenomena. A signal can be better analyzed if
Steganography is an art of covert communication in which a expressed as a linear decomposition of sums of products of
secret message is communicated by hiding it in a cover file, so coefficient and functions. A two-parameter system is
that the very existence of the secret message is not detectable. constructed such that one has a double sum and coefficient
The cover file can be image, audio or video; the most with two indices. The set of coefficients are called the DWT
commonly being the image files. of a signal.
Steganography dates back to ancient Greece, where common DWT splits the signal into high and low frequency parts. The
practices consisted of etching messages in wooden tablets and high frequency part contains information about the edge

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

components, while the low frequency part is split again into C. Daubechies Wavelet
high and low frequency parts which is shown in figure 2 [1].
Daubechies wavelets are the most popular wavelets. They
represent the foundations of wavelet signal processing and are
used in various applications. These are also called Maxflat
wavelets as their frequency responses have maximum flatness
at frequencies 0 and π. The Daubechies wavelet transforms are
defined in the same way as the Haar wavelet transform—by
computing running averages and differences via scalar
products with scaling signals and wavelets—the only
difference between them consists in how these scaling signals
and wavelets are defined. For the Daubechies wavelet
Fig. 2. Block Diagram of 1-Step 2-D DWT transforms, the scaling signals and wavelets have slightly
longer supports, i.e., they produce averages and differences
The high frequency components are usually used for using just a few more values from the signal. This slight
steganography since the human eye is less sensitive to changes change, however, provides a tremendous improvement in the
in edges [2]. In two dimensional applications, for each level of capabilities of these new transforms. The names of the
decompositions, we first perform the DWT in the vertical Daubechies family wavelets are written dbN, where N is the
direction, followed by the DWT in the horizontal direction. As order, and db the "surname" of the wavelet.
we can see in figure 3 [2], after the first level of
decomposition, there are four sub-bands: LL, LH, HL and HH. D. Peak Signal to Noise Ratio(PSNR)
It is the measure of reconstruction of the transformed
image. This metric is used for discriminating between
the cover and stego image which is given by equation 1
[13].
10 255 / (1)
E. Mean Square Error(MSE)
It is one of the most frequently used quality measurement
Fig. 3. First Level Wavelet Decomposition technique followed by PSNR. The MSE can be defined as the
B. Haar Wavelet measure of average of the squares of the difference between
the intensities of the stego image and the cover image. It is
Haar wavelet is one of the oldest and simplest wavelet. It is popularly used because of the mathematical tractability it
also the symmetric wavelet. In discrete form Haar wavelets offers. It is represented in equation 2 [13].
are related to a mathematical operation called the Haar
∑ ∑ ′
transform. The Haar transform works as a prototype for all , , (2)
other wavelet transforms. In mathematics, the Haar wavelet is
a sequence of rescaled "square-shaped" functions which III. LITERATURE REVIEW
together form a wavelet family or basis. Wavelet analysis is There are many steganography techniques which are capable
homogeneous to Fourier analysis in that it allows a target of hiding data within an image. These techniques can be
function over an interval to be represented in terms of an classified into two categories based on their algorithms: (1)
orthonormal function basis. It represents the same wavelet as spatial domain based techniques; (2) transform domain based
Daubechies db1. The Haar wavelet transform has a number of techniques. The spatial domain based steganography technique
advantages such as it is conceptually fast, simple, memory use either the LSB or Bit Plane Complexity Segmentation
efficient, since it can be calculated in place without a algorithm. The most widely used technique to hide data is the
temporary array. usage of the LSB [5]. The existing techniques are mainly
The Haar wavelet also has limitations. In generating each of based on LSB (Least Significant Bit) where LSBs of the cover
averages for the next level and each set of coefficients, the file are directly changed with message bits. S. M Karim et al.
Haar transform performs an average and difference on a pair [6] has proposed a LSB technique for RGB true color image
of values. Then the algorithm shifts over by two values and by enhancing the existing LSB substitution techniques to
calculates another average and difference on the next pair. The improve the security level of hidden information. LSB
high frequency coefficient spectrum should reflect all high matching image steganography and edge adaptive scheme was
frequency changes. The Haar window is only two elements proposed which can select the embedding regions according to
wide. If a big change takes place from an even value to an odd the size of secret message and the difference between two
value, the change will not be reflected in the high frequency consecutive pixels in the cover image. In [7] designing of
coefficients. robust and secure image steganography based on LSB
insertion and RSA encryption technique has been used.

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

M. A. Ahmed et al. [8] proposed a method in which a message iv. Get higher four bits of secret information
hidden inside an image by using the Least Significant Bit and embed into the lower four bits of
technique and after creation of the hidden message, the image wavelet coefficients of other band selected.
will pass it in hash function to obtain hashing value using the 5. Calculate inverse daubechies wavelet transform.
MD5 technique. In [9] a hash based approach proposed for 6. Stego image is generated.
secure keyless steganography in lossless RGB images that an
improved steganography approach for hiding text messages in B. Algorithm for Extraction Process
lossless RGB images. 1. Get stego image.
Transform domain techniques embed secret information in a 2. Calculate daubechies wavelet transform of the stego
transform space of the signal means the process of embedding image.
data in the frequency domain of a signal to make them more 3. Obtain the coefficients of the selected band where the
robust to attack such as adding noise, compression, cropping, pixel value of secret image is hidden.
some image processing etc[10]. Many transform domain 4. Extract the pixel values of secret image from wavelet
variations exist. One method is to use the Discrete Cosine coefficients. The extraction is done in following
Transformation (DCT) as a vehicle to embed information in method.
image. Another method would be the use of wavelet i. Get coefficients from one of the selected
transforms. Advantages of transform domain include higher bands of wavelet.
level of robustness against simple statistical analysis. ii. Obtain lower four bits of the coefficients.
iii. Get coefficients from other selected bands of
JSteg sequentially replaces the LSB of the non-zero quantized wavelet.
DCT coefficients with secret message bits whereas in JPHide iv. Obtain lower four bits of the coefficients.
the quantized DCT coefficients are not selected sequentially v. Combine this four bits with the four bits
but selected randomly by a pseudo-random number generator obtained in (ii) by making this four bits as
[10]. F5 comes after a series of F3 and F4 [11]. F5 higher bits and other four bits as lower bits.
steganographic algorithm was introduced by Westfield and it vi. Decrypt the obtained value by XORing it
embeds message bits into randomly chosen DCT coefficients. with secret key.
The F5 algorithm employs matrix embedding that minimizes
the necessary number of changes to hide a message of certain 5. Secret image is generated.
length. V. EXPERIMENTS AND EVALUATIONS
The discrete wavelet transform (DWT) method is favored over A. Simulation Parameters
the DCT method in steganography because DWT provides
better image resolution at various levels. DWT converts spatial x Coding Platform: Matlab
domain information to the frequency domain information and it x Cover and Secret Image: 24-bit color
clearly partitions the high-frequency and low-frequency x Cover Image size: 512 X 512
information on a pixel by pixel basis [12]. Wavelets are x Secret Image size: 128 X 128
mathematical functions that divide data into frequency
components, which makes them ideal for image compression. B. Comparison of different bands of Daubechies wavelet
Haar wavelet transform is the widely used wavelet transform transform for embedding secret image
due to the simplicity in implementation [13].
5 different secret images and 17 different cover images are
IV. METHODOLOGY taken and secret image is embedded in different combination
of bands (horizontal/diagonal, vertical/diagonal,
A. Algorithm for Embedding Process vertical/horizontal) and performance is evaluated in terms of
1. Get cover image and secret image. mean square error and peak signal to noise ratio.
2. Calculate daubechies wavelet transform of the cover
image. In table I, out of 17 tests, 12 give less mean square error and
3. Encrypt the pixel value of secret image by XORing hence more peak signal to noise ratio in horizontal/diagonal
pixel value with secret key. band and 5 give less mean square error in vertical/diagonal
4. Embed the encrypted pixel values of secret image band.
into the wavelet coefficients. This is done in
following method. In table II, out of 17 tests, 12 give less mean square error and
i. Select any two bands (i.e. HL/HH or LH/HH hence more peak signal to noise ratio in horizontal/diagonal
or HL/LH). band, 4 give less mean square error in vertical/diagonal band
ii. Get the secret information (image). and 1 gives less mean square error in vertical/horizontal band.
iii. Get lower four bits of secret information and
embed into the lower four bits of wavelet
coefficients of one of the band selected.

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

Table I: Calculation of MSE and PSNR at different bands with secret7.jpg as Table III: Calculation of MSE and PSNR at different bands with secret9.jpg as
secret image secret image

secret7.jpg (Secret Image) Secret9.jpg (Secret Image)


Cover horizontal/ vertical/ vertical/ Cover horizontal/ vertical/ vertical/
Image diagonal diagonal horizontal Image diagonal diagonal horizontal
MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR
im 398.19 22.13 229.71 24.51 628.333 20.14 im 493.41 21.19 187.31 25.40 583.28 20.47
image1 172.50 25.76 321.57 23.05 1238.50 17.20 image1 153.20 26.27 323.17 23.03 1111.2 17.67
image2 203.70 25.04 182.54 25.51 696.405 19.70 image2 184.23 25.47 248.42 24.17 671.75 19.85
image3 209.78 24.91 237.52 24.37 505.039 21.09 image3 199.31 25.13 213.70 24.83 431.59 21.78
image4 233.73 24.44 325.88 23.00 1520.00 16.30 image4 342.02 22.79 399.94 22.11 1184.6 17.39
image5 131.90 26.92 284.68 23.58 973.316 18.24 image5 228.62 24.54 272.46 23.77 849.67 18.83
image6 228.98 24.53 244.36 24.25 365.103 22.50 image6 135.87 26.79 236.82 24.38 292.00 23.47
image8 203.79 25.03 260.07 23.98 473.548 21.37 image8 200.58 25.10 226.01 24.58 415.02 21.95
image1 158.25 26.13 183.42 25.49 338.497 22.83 image10 178.64 25.61 200.56 25.10 298.36 23.38
0
image1 174.96 25.70 298.32 23.38 21.54 205.53 25.00 241.21 24.30 334.27 22.89
455.523 image11
1
image1 170.90 25.80 297.51 23.39 21.79 166.28 25.92 179.05 25.60 311.04 23.20
430.382 image12
2
image1 190.31 25.33 291.06 23.49 1230.00 17.24 244.00 24.25 235.63 24.40 977.80 18.22
image13
3
image1 941.98 18.39 238.51 24.35 20.23 237.87 24.36 216.45 24.77 604.80 20.31
615.608 image14
4
image1 294.72 23.43 259.25 23.99 18.63 229.06 24.53 239.02 24.34 794.90 19.12
890.154 image15
5
image1 240.89 24.31 251.75 24.12 1038.50 17.96 196.78 25.19 214.62 24.81 988.31 18.18
image16
6
image1 221.87 24.67 243.39 24.26 21.98 190.74 25.32 203.19 25.05 275.73 23.72
411.758 image17
7
image1 178.68 25.61 164.12 25.97 23.66 180.91 25.55 157.77 26.15 240.35 24.32
279.510 image19
9

Table II: Calculation of MSE and PSNR at different bands with secret2.jpg as Table IV: Calculation of MSE and PSNR at different bands with secret6.jpg
secret image as secret image

secret2.jpg (Secret Image) secret6.jpg (Secret Image)


Cover horizontal/ Vertical/ vertical/ Cover horizontal/ Vertical/ vertical/
Image diagonal diagonal horizontal Image diagonal diagonal horizontal
MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR
im 950.2 14.14 394.038 22.17 245.639 24.22 im 342.73 22.78 204.07 25.03 157.765 26.15
image1 732.47 19.48 872.841 18.72 3807.90 12.32 image1 225.92 24.59 461.11 21.49 1457.30 16.49
image2 419.87 21.90 595.430 20.38 2139.70 14.82 image2 223.39 24.64 214.33 24.82 1046.70 17.93
image3 637.30 20.08 730.619 19.49 1638.60 15.98 image3 233.86 24.44 260.53 23.97 662.007 19.92
image4 708.25 19.62 3984.40 12.12 4486.10 11.61 image4 254.38 24.07 879.46 18.68 1267.10 17.10
image5 528.33 20.90 791.091 19.14 3155.20 13.14 image5 206.28 24.98 318.35 23.10 1475.90 16.44
image6 504.87 21.09 809.075 19.05 816.448 19.01 image6 261.31 23.95 288.02 23.53 289.803 23.51
image8 483.70 21.28 384.771 22.27 1232.70 17.22 image8 234.55 24.42 221.62 24.67 487.715 21.24
image10 581.21 20.48 581.682 20.48 854.132 18.81 image10 186.07 25.43 230.54 24.50 323.423 23.03
image11 573.87 20.54 790.859 19.15 1127.50 17.61 image11 174.42 25.71 342.57 22.78 464.533 21.46
image12 505.74 21.09 628.611 20.14 889.407 18.64 image12 231.38 24.48 202.08 25.07 385.474 22.27
image13 493.96 21.19 814.702 19.02 3818.50 12.31 image13 173.44 25.73 299.10 23.37 1575.80 16.15
image14 214.81 24.81 778.628 19.21 2156.90 14.79 image14 227.33 24.56 377.95 22.35 1007.50 18.09
image15 512.30 21.03 776.525 19.22 2132.50 14.84 image15 200.11 25.11 272.25 23.78 1066.90 17.85
image16 596.62 20.37 583.599 20.47 2508.00 14.13 image16 271.59 23.79 329.48 22.95 1308.30 16.96
image17 485.81 21.26 480.759 21.31 720.347 19.55 image17 203.55 25.04 294.26 23.44 329.664 22.95
image19 715.71 19.58 515.019 21.01 675.622 19.83 image19 294.17 23.44 194.99 25.23 296.315 23.41

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

Table V: Calculation of MSE and PSNR at different bands with secret4.jpg as x Case I:- Secret Image: secret7.jpg
secret image
In this case, 14 cover images out of 17 images have less mean
square error in Daubechies wavelet transform than in Haar
Secret4.jpg (Secret Image) wavelet transform.
Cover horizontal/ Vertical/ vertical/
Image diagonal diagonal horizontal
MSE PSNR MSE PSNR MSE PSNR
im 162.27 26.02 243.17 24.27 227.559 24.56
image1 338.68 22.83 867.44 18.74 1593.80 16.10
image2 218.33 24.74 271.86 23.78 1069.40 17.83
image3 304.62 23.29 373.66 22.40 825.990 18.96
image4 332.22 22.91 453.26 21.56 1263.80 17.11
image5 272.03 23.78 386.66 22.25 1474.00 16.44
image6 216.54 24.77 230.78 24.49 357.139 22.60
image8 220.32 24.70 226.89 24.57 770.203 19.26
image10 308.57 23.23 302.59 23.32 400.939 22.10
image11 238.77 24.35 343.85 22.76 504.226 21.10
image12 268.73 23.83 315.11 23.14 458.779 21.51
image13 265.43 23.89 412.87 21.97 1717.00 15.78
image14 156.52 26.18 358.21 22.58 1082.10 17.78
image15 333.94 22.89 366.54 22.48 1029.30 18.00
image16 324.90 23.01 341.85 22.79 1231.60 17.22
image17 218.68 24.73 226.78 24.57 421.911 21.87
image19 256.95 24.03 249.36 24.16 199.966 25.12

In table III, out of 17 tests, 13 give less mean square error and
hence more peak signal to noise ratio in horizontal/diagonal
band and 4 give less mean square error in vertical/diagonal
band. x Case II:- Secret Image: secret2.jpg
In this case, 12 cover images out of 17 images have less mean
In table IV, out of 17 tests, 12 give less mean square error and square error in Daubechies wavelet transform than in Haar
hence more peak signal to noise ratio in horizontal/diagonal wavelet transform.
band and 5 give less mean square error in vertical/diagonal
band.

In table V, out of 17 tests, 15 give less mean square error and


hence more peak signal to noise ratio in horizontal/diagonal
band and 2 give less mean square error in vertical/diagonal
band.

In above five tables, out of 85 tests, 64 tests give less mean


square error in horizontal/diagonal band, 20 tests give less
mean square error in vertical/diagonal band and 1 test gives
less mean square error in vertical/horizontal band.
Horizontal/diagonal band has more images with less mean
square error and vertical/diagonal band also contains some
number of images with less mean square error. Hence, it can
be concluded that diagonal band contains less information of
an original image.
C. Comparison Between Haar and Daubechies Wavelet
Transform
5 different secret images and 17 different cover images are
taken and performance of Haar and Daubechies wavelet
transform is compared on these images in terms of mean
square error.

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

x Case III:- Secret Image: secret9.jpg x Case III:- Secret Image: secret4.jpg
In this case, 12 cover images out of 17 images have less mean In this case, 13 cover images out of 17 images have less mean
square error of Daubechies wavelet transform than in Haar square error in Daubechies wavelet transform than in Haar
wavelet transform. wavelet transform.

x Case IV:- Secret Image: secret6.jpg In above 5 cases, a total of 65 out of 85 tests give less mean
square error in Daubechies wavelet transform than Haar
In this case, 14 cover images out of 17 images have less mean wavelet transform. Hence experiments showed that
square error in Daubechies wavelet transform than in Haar Daubechies wavelet transform gives better quality of secret
wavelet transform. image extracted from stego image.

VI. CONCLUSION
In steganography, secret information is to be embedded in
such a way that it does not make significant change to cover
file. In this research, Daubechies discrete wavelet transform
technique is used to embed the secret information and
different tests have been performed. Different results show
that diagonal band of wavelet transform carries less
information of original image and hence coefficients of this
band can be used to embed the secret information without
much change to an original image. Instead of taking single
band, embedding secret information in combination of bands
such as vertical/diagonal or horizontal/diagonal band gives
better result in terms of MSE.
Also the performance of Daubechies DWT and Haar DWT is
evaluated in terms of PSNR and MSE. Different tests show
that Daubechies DWT gives less MSE and hence more PSNR
compared to Haar DWT.

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2015 9th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management and Applications (SKIMA)

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APPENDIX

Cover Image

Wavelet Transform of an image

Original Secret Image Extracted Secret Image


Stego Image
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