Secure data hiding techniques: a survey

  • Laxmanika Singh
  • A. K. SinghEmail author
  • P. K. Singh


This article presents a detailed discussion of different prospects of digital image watermarking. This discussion of watermarking included: brief comparison of similar information security techniques, concept of watermark embedding and extraction process, watermark characteristics and applications, common types of watermarking techniques, major classification of watermarking attacks, brief summary of various secure watermarking techniques. Further, potential issues and some existing solutions are provided. Furthermore, the performance comparisons of the discussed techniques are presented in tabular format. Authors believe that this article contribution will provide as catalyst for potential researchers to implement efficient watermarking systems.


Watermarking Steganography Cryptography Robustness Imperceptibility 



The authors thank the potential reviewer’s for their constructive comments and suggestions that greatly contributed to improving this article.


  1. 1.
    Ahmad S, Lu ZM. (2007) A joint biometrics and watermarking based framework for fingerprinting, copyright protection, proof of ownership, and security applications. In Computational Intelligence and Security Workshops, IEEE CISW; 676–679Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ahmad S, Mirza SM, Qamar S. (2004) A spread spectrum based scalable blind digital watermarking technique for multi-purpose multimedia applications. In: E-Tech 2004, Karachi, Pakistan 10–16Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bartlow N, Kalka N, Cukic B, Ross A. (2007) Protecting iris images through asymmetric digital watermarking. 2007 IEEE Workshop on Automatic Identification Advanced Technologies; 192–197Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bhowmik D, Oakes M, Abhayaratne C (2016) Visual attention-based image watermarking. IEEE Access 4:8002–8018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bianchi T, Piva A (2013) Secure watermarking for multimedia content protection: a review of its benefits and open issues. IEEE Signal Process Mag 30(2):87–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bianchi T, Piva A, Barni M (2009) Encrypted domain DCT based on homomorphic cryptosystems. EURASIP J Inf Secur 2009(1):716357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Caldelli R, Filippini F, Barni M (2006) Joint near-lossless compression and watermarking of still images for authentication and tamper localization. Signal Process Image Commun 21(10):890–903CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cao X, Fu Z, Sun X. (2016) A privacy-preserving outsourcing data storage scheme with fragile digital watermarking-based data auditing. Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2016), Article ID: 3219042;1–7Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chang CC, Tsai P, Lin CC (2005) SVD-based digital image watermarking scheme. Pattern Recogn Lett 26(10):1577–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chang CC, Chen KN, Lee CF, Liu LJ (2011) A secure fragile watermarking scheme based on chaos-and-hamming code. J Syst Softw 84(9):1462–1470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chang IC, Hu YC, Chen WL, Lo CC (2015) High capacity reversible data hiding scheme based on residual histogram shifting for block truncation coding. Signal Process 108:376–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chen YY, Chi KY (2017) Cloud image watermarking: high quality data hiding and blind decoding scheme based on block truncation coding. Multimedia Systems :1–3.
  13. 13.
    Chen J, Hong W, Chen TS, Shiu CW (2010) Steganography for BTC compressed images using no distortion technique. The Imaging Science Journal 58(4):177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dagadu JC, Li J (2018) Context-based watermarking cum chaotic encryption for medical images in telemedicine applications. Multimedia Tools and Applications; 1–24Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Das C, Panigrahi S, Sharma VK, Mahapatra KK (2014) A novel blind robust image watermarking in DCT domain using inter-block coefficient correlation. AEU-International Journal of Electronics and Communications 68(3):244–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dharwadkar NV, Amberker BB (2010) Watermarking scheme for color images using wavelet transform based texture properties and secret sharing. International Journal of Signal Processing 6(2):93–100Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fridrich J, Goljan M, Chen Q, Pathak V. (2004) Lossless data embedding with file size preservation. In Security, Steganography, and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents VI 2004 International Society for Optics and Photonics; 5306: 354–365Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Golea NE, Seghir R, Benzid R. (2010) A bind RGB color image watermarking based on singular value decomposition. 2010 IEEE/ACS International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications, Hammamet, Tunisia; 1–5Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gordy JD, Bruton LT. (2000) Performance evaluation of digital audio watermarking algorithms In: Proc. of the 43rd IEEE Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems, 1; 456–459Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gunjal BL, Mali SN (2015) MEO based secured, robust, high capacity and perceptual quality image watermarking in DWT-SVD domain. Springer Plus 5(9):1–16Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guo J, Zheng P, Huang J (2015) Secure watermarking scheme against watermark attacks in the encrypted domain. J Vis Commun Image Represent 30:125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gupta R, Jain S, Mishra A. (2015) Watermarking system for encrypted images at cloud to check reliability of images. 2015 1st International Conference on Next Generation Computing Technologies, Dehradun, India 46–49Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Gupta R, Mishra A, Jain S. (2017) A semi-blind HVS based image watermarking scheme using elliptic curve cryptography. Multimedia Tools and Applications 1–26Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Haddad S, Coatrieux G, Cozic M, Bouslimi D (2017) Joint watermarking and lossless JPEG-LS compression for medical image security. IRBM 38(4):198–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hien TD, Nakao Z, Chen YW (2006) Robust multi-logo watermarking by RDWT and ICA. Signal Processing Elsevier 86(10):2981–2993CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hong W, Chen TS, Shiu CW (2008) Lossless steganography for AMBTC-compressed images. In Image and Signal Processing. CISP '08. Congress on Image and Signal Processing, 2008. 2:13–17Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hossain MS, Muhammad G (2016) Cloud-assisted industrial internet of things (iiot)–enabled framework for health monitoring. Comput Netw 101(4):192–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hsieh SL, Tsai IJ, Huang BY, Jian JJ (2008) Protecting copyrights of color images using a watermarking scheme based on secret sharing and wavelet transform. J Multimed 3(4):42–49Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hsu CS, Hou YC (2005) Copyright protection scheme for digital images using visual cryptography and sampling methods. Opt Eng 44(7):077003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hsu CS, Tu SF (2010) Probability-based tampering detection scheme for digital images. Opt Commun 283(9):1737–1743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Huang CH, Chuang SC, Huang YL, Wu JL (2009) Unseen visible watermarking: a novel methodology for auxiliary information delivery via visual contents. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security 4(2):193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Jiang L (2018) The identical operands commutative encryption and watermarking based on homomorphism. Multimedia Tools and Applications. Springer, 1–20.
  33. 33.
    Juarez-Sandoval O, Fragoso-Navarro E, Cedillo-Hernandez M, Nakano M, Perez-Meana H and Cedillo-Hernandez A. (2017) Improved unseen-visible watermarking for copyrigth protection of digital image. 5th International Workshop in Biometrics and Forensics (IWBF). IEEE, Coventry, UK: 1–5Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kalra GS, Talwar R, Sadawarti H (2015) Adaptive digital image watermarking for color images in frequency domain. Multimedia Tools and Applications 74(17):6849–6869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Thakur S, Singh AK, Ghrera SP, Elhoseny Md (2018) Multi-layer security of medical data through watermarking and chaotic encryption for tele-health applications. Multimedia Tools and Applications :1–14.
  36. 36.
    Kaur G, Kaur K (2013) Digital watermarking and other data hiding techniques. International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering 2(5):181–183Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kim WG, Lee H (2009, Elsevier) Multimodal biometric image watermarking using two-stage integrity verification. Signal Process 89(12):2385–2399CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kim J, Kim N, Lee D, Park S, Lee S (2010) Watermarking two dimensional data object identifier for authenticated distribution of digital multimedia contents. Signal Process Image Commun 25(8):559–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kittawi N, Al-Haj A. (2017) Reversible data hiding in encrypted images. 2017 8th International Conference on Information Technology, Amman, Jordan, 808–813Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Komninos N, Dimitriou T. (2007) Protecting biometric templates with image watermarking techniques. In International Conference on Biometrics, Berlin, Heidelberg, 114–123Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kumar GD, Teja DP, Reddy SS, Sasikaladevi N (2017) An efficient watermarking technique for biometric images. Procedia Computer Science 115:423–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lei B, Song I, Rahman SA (2013) Robust and secure watermarking scheme for breath sound. Journal of Systems and Software Elsevier 86(6):1638–1649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Lei B, Zhao X, Lei H, Ni D, Chen S, Zhou F, Wang T. (2017) Multipurpose watermarking scheme via intelligent method and chaotic map. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 1–23Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lin PL, Hsieh CK, Huang PW (2005) A hierarchical digital watermarking method for image tampers detection and recovery. Pattern Recogn 38(12):2519–2529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Liu Y, Zhang L, Nie L, Yan Y, Rosenblum DS. Fortune Teller: Predicting Your Career Path. In AAAI 2016; (2016):201–207Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Majumder S, Devi KJ, Sarkar SK (2013) Singular value decomposition and wavelet-based iris biometric watermarking. IET biometrics 2(1):21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Marvel LM, Boncelet CG, Retter CT (1999) Spread spectrum image steganography. IEEE Trans Image Process 8(8):1075–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Mohanty SP (1999) Digital watermarking: A tutorial reviewGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Mohanty SP, Ramakrishnan KR, Kankanhalli M. (1999) A dual watermarking technique for images. In Proceedings of the seventh ACM international conference on Multimedia (Part 2), 49–51Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Mohanty SP, Sengupta A, Guturu P, Kougianos E (2017) Everything you want to know about watermarking. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine 6(3):83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Moon D, Kim T, Jung S, Chung Y, Moon K, Ahn D, Kim SK (2005) Performance evaluation of watermarking techniques for secure multimodal biometric systems. In Proc. of the International Conference on Computational and Information Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 635–642Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Naderahmadian Y, Hosseini-Khayat S. (2010) Fast watermarking based on QR decomposition in wavelet domain. In proc. of the 2010 Sixth International Conference on Intelligent Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing, Darmstadt, Germany; 127–130Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Narayana S, Prasad G (2010) Two new approaches for secured image steganography using cryptographic techniques and type conversions. Signal & Image Processing: An International Journal (SIPIJ) 1(2):60–73Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Ou D, Sun W (2015) High payload image steganography with minimum distortion based on absolute moment block truncation coding. Multimedia Tools and Applications 74(21):9117–9139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Park KR, Jeong DS, Kang BJ, Lee EC. (2007) A study on iris feature watermarking on face data. In International Conference on Adaptive and Natural Computing Algorithms. Berlin, Heidelberg; 415–423Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Patra JC, Phua JE, Bornand C (2010) A novel DCT domain CRT-based watermarking scheme for image authentication surviving JPEG compression. Digital Signal Processing 20(6):1597–1611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Patra JC, Karthik A, Bornand C (2010) A novel CRT-based watermarking technique for authentication of multimedia contents. Digital Signal Processing 20(2):442–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Rawat S, Raman B (2011) A chaotic system based fragile watermarking scheme for image tamper detection. AEU-International Journal of Electronics and Communications 65(10):840–847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Rawat S, Raman B (2012) A blind watermarking algorithm based on fractional Fourier transform and visual cryptography. Signal Process 92(6):1480–1491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Seenivasagam V, Velumani R (2013) A QR code based zero-watermarking scheme for authentication of medical images in teleradiology cloud. Computational and mathematical methods in medicine. 2013 516465:1–16zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Shehab A, Elhoseny M, Muhammad K, Sangaiah AK, Yang P, Huang H, Hou G (2018) Secure and robust fragile watermarking scheme for medical images. IEEE Access 6:10269–10278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Singh AK (2015) Some new techniques of improved wavelet domain watermarking for medical images, PhD thesis, Department of Computer Engineering, NIT Kurukshetra, Haryana, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Singh AK, Kumar B, Dave M, Ghrera SP and Mohan A (2016) Digital Image Watermarking: Techniques and Emerging Applications. Handbook of Research on Modern Cryptographic Solutions for Computer and Cyber Security.IGI Global, USA; 246–272Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Singh AK, Kumar B, Singh SK, Ghrera SP, Mohan A (2018) Multiple watermarking technique for securing online social network contents using back propagation neural network. Futur Gener Comput Syst 86:926–939.
  65. 65.
    Singh AK, Kumar B, Singh G and Mohan A (2017) Medical Image Watermarking: Techniques and Applications. Book series on Multimedia Systems and Applications, Springer, USAGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Song W, Hou JJ, Li ZH, Huang L (2011) Chaotic system and QR factorization based robust digital image watermarking algorithm. J Cent S Univ Technol 18(1):116–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Su Q, Chen B (2017) A novel blind color image watermarking using upper Hessenberg matrix. AEU-International Journal of Electronics and Communications 78:64–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Su Q, Chen B (2018) Robust color image watermarking technique in the spatial domain. Soft Comput 22(1):91–106MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Su Q, Niu Y, Zou H, Zhao Y, Yao T (2014) A blind double color image watermarking algorithm based on QR decomposition. Multimedia tools and applications 72(1):987–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Tanha M, Torshizi SD, Abdullah MT, Hashim F. (2012) An overview of attacks against digital watermarking and their respective countermeasures. In proc. of 2012 International Conference on Cyber Security, Cyber Warfare and Digital Forensic (CyberSec) , IEEE, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 265–270Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Vatsa M, Singh R, Noore A, Houck MM, Morris K (2006) Robust biometric image watermarking for fingerprint and face template protection. IEICE Electronics Express 3(2):23–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Vatsa M, Singh R, Noore A (2009) Feature based RDWT watermarking for multimodal biometric system. Image Vis Comput 27(3):293–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Wang MS, Chen WC (2009) A hybrid DWT-SVD copyright protection scheme based on k-means clustering and visual cryptography. Computer Standards & Interfaces 31(4):757–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Wildes RP (1997) Iris recognition: an emerging biometric technology. Proc IEEE 85(9):1348–1363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Xia Z, Wang X, Zhang L, Qin Z, Sun X, Ren K (2016) A privacy-preserving and copy-deterrence content-based image retrieval scheme in cloud computing. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security 11(11):2594–2608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Yeung MM, Mintzer FC (1998) Invisible watermarking for image verification. Journal of Electronic imaging 7(3):578–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Yin Z, Luo B, Hong W (2014) Separable and error-free reversible data hiding in encrypted image with high payload. The Scientific World Journal, (2014), Article ID: 604876;1–8Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Zhang X (2011) Reversible data hiding in encrypted image. IEEE signal processing letters 18(4):255–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Zhang X (2012) Separable reversible data hiding in encrypted image. IEEE transactions on information forensics and security 7(2):826–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Zhang J, Xiang Y, Zhou W, Ye L, Mu Y (2011) Secure image retrieval based on visual content and watermarking protocol. Comput J 54(10):1661–1674CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CSE & ITJaypee University of ITSolanIndia
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringNational Institute of TechnologyPatnaIndia

Personalised recommendations