Data hiding is a technique for secret and secure data storing and transmission that embeds data into a media such as an image, audio, video and so on, with minimal quality degradation of the media. Some developed data hiding schemes are reversible. Reversibility property allows the media to be recovered completely after extraction of the embedded data. Vector Quantization (VQ)-based image data hiding is one of the most popular study areas in the literature. However, most VQ-based reversible data hiding schemes generate non-legitimate codes as output. In other words output codes generated by such schemes could not be decoded by the conventional VQ or VQ based decoders and may arouse the attention of interceptors. On the other hand, the existing VQ based reversible data hiding schemes that generate legitimate VQ codes as output, suffer from low capacity and poor quality of stego-image. In this paper a novel reversible data hiding scheme for VQ-compressed images based on locally adaptive data compression scheme (LAS) is proposed. Unlike other schemes, the proposed scheme doesn’t change the VQ indices; data is embedded by choosing one of the possible ways to encode each index. As a result, in comparison with the schemes that embed data by index replacement, in the proposed scheme no extra distortion is made by data embedding and the outputted codes are compatible with the conventional LAS decoder. These properties help to hide the existence of secret data and make the scheme suitable for steganography. Moreover, a framework to combine the proposed scheme with some other schemes to improve their capacity and embedding side information is proposed. Since LAS is a general data compression scheme, the proposed scheme could be used to embed data into any data formats. All existing LAS based data hiding schemes produce non-legitimate codes as their outputs and the proposed scheme is the first and only one that produces legitimate codes as output. Experimental results show that the proposed scheme outperforms the existing LAS based schemes and some other VQ based data hiding schemes. On average, the proposed scheme embeds 2.14 bits per index with almost the same bit-rate as the bit-rate of the VQ index table.
Image compression Vector quantization Locally adaptive data compression scheme Hilbert curve Data embedding Reversible data hiding
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The authors would say thanks to Prof. C. H. Yang and Mr Y. C. Lin for their help and support. Also the authors thank Mr Lucas Helms for proofreading the paper.
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