Framework for Data Hiding Operation Using Motion Vectors for Effective Imperceptibility Performance
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Data Hiding is one of the frequently used security approaches for safeguarding the sensitive information of the available data as well as to transmit secret information among different ends in a vulnerable network. However, majority of data hiding scheme evolved till date is focused on its embedding capacity or else focused on introducing the distinct parameters of encryption. However, all these approaches will not only make the embedded file bulky but also, they will lose its imperceptibility characteristics. Therefore, the proposed paper introduces a simple and robust reversible data hiding process where a secret image is embedded within a video as a cover image. Motion prediction and histogram shifting approach is also utilized for obtaining highly secured bit-streams. The outcome of the study shows that the proposed system offers a better signal quality and retains maximum imperceptibility irrespective of the size of the secret image.
KeywordsReversible data hiding Image imperceptibility Video encoding Secret image Compression
With the recent progressive growth of multimedia technologies, almost all the commercial applications have started using it in a commercial way. In this regard, the usage of various multimedia file system are mainly shared and exchanged by the user from a practical viewpoint. Various studies have already been carried out to prove that the multimedia security still remains as a big challenge to overcome [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Hence, security approaches have been evolving in order to counter-attack the threats [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. One of the most frequently used counter-mechanisms is data hiding scheme where a secret data is embedded for security purpose. The embedding of information, in most cases, causes the carrier to lose a part of the data, so the carrier cannot be completely recovered after it gets extracted. In some special applications, such as in the fields of medicine, military, and law, false positives would be caused even by slight distortion of a digital image. Therefore, any irreversible loss of carrier data is not allowed. Basically, Reversible Data Hiding scheme is capable of extracting the actual set of information from the given source ensuring the highest quality of information i.e. zero loss of data. Therefore, this topic is currently a center of attention for various researchers. Therefore, the proposed system introduces a very simple and novel reversible data hiding process by considering video as a cover file, which mainly targets on accomplishing the imperceptibility of the embedded secret image. The organization of the paper is as follows – Sect. 2 briefs of existing studies while research problem is briefed in Sect. 3. Adopted methodology and system design is discussed in Sect. 4 and Sect. 5 respectively. Result analysis is discussed in Sect. 6 while conclusion is briefed in Sect. 7.
2 Related Work
This section discusses about recent research work towards reversible data hiding. The most recent work is carried out by Puteaux and Puech  where a predictive scheme of most significant bit is used emphasizing on improving the high capacity. Qian et al.  have used a dual embedding scheme towards generating an encrypted bitstream. Qian et al.  have also used an iterative process of data hiding where first the encryption of image is carried out followed by embedding on extra information for obtained ciphered image into the server. A unique three-dimensional data hiding process using mesh framework was introduced by Jiang et al. . According to the scheme, the vertex coordinates are used for mapping the integers from the decimals followed by usage of the least significant bits. Usage of homomorphic encryption is carried out by Xiang and Luo  along with the usage of Paillier encryption approach. The work of Yi and Zhou  has used a labeling scheme based on binary tree structure over the image pixels in order to facilitate encryption over image. Chen et al.  have used sorting of pixel approach as well as extension of the errors caused due to prediction for data encryption mechanism using directional property of the predictor. The work of Wu et al.  has adopted a color partitioning process for developing a unique data hiding scheme. Usage of motion vector over video encoded by H264 is carried out by Niu et al. . The study discussed by Hou et al.  have considered the distortion problem and used reversible steganography for data hiding. Xiong et al.  have used homomorphic encryption while Wang et al.  have used histogram shifting approach for data hiding. The work of Zhang  used have optimal value of host data where pixel and auxiliary information is used for estimating errors. Many researchers have proposed theories for video steganography as well as compressed domain reversible video steganography using various conventional approaches of compression. Steganography system proposed by Hu et al.  is based on non-uniform rectangular partition uses an uncompressed domain. It uses secret video to hide inside a cover video, and the size of cover video and secret video are of same size. Similarly, various others authors e.g. Ni et al. , Hong et al. , Zhang et al. [27, 30], Ma et al. , and Shanableh et al.  have also carried out work towards addressing the problem of data hiding scheme where different conventional methodologies are applied for data hiding operation. The next section outlines the research problem.
3 Problem Description
From the review of the existing system, it can be seen that there are various forms of solutions towards strengthening the process of reversible data hiding procedure. Almost all schemes that are recently evolved are very unique and distinct from each other where the performance is found to offer a better data hiding scheme. However, a thorough investigation of its performance shows that existing system is not claimed to offer a good balance between the image quality and embedding policies. Not all work has actually emphasized on imperceptibility concept that is mandatory in data hiding scheme. Apart from this, the studies towards data hiding scheme over video is quite a less to found. The few work carried out towards video encoding scheme and data hiding actually doesn’t consider imperceptibility factor associated with reversible data hiding.
4 Proposed Methodology
A closer look into Fig. 1 shows that proposed system uses the concept of motion estimation followed by prediction operation where histogram shifting operation is carried out in order to obtain reference P frame. It also applies discrete cosine transform for better compression performing after sub-sampling is carried out. The complete operation leads to generation of an encoded video where data is hidden. An illustrative discussion of this method is carried out in next section.
5 System Implementation
The proposed approach deals with embedding and extraction of the secret image pixels into a MPEG2 compressed video using Histogram shifting method in motion vectors. The cover video considered in this work is an MPEG2 compressed video file. This system presents an efficient way of transfer of information from sender to the receiver as data is hidden in the motion vectors of the selected frames. An uncompressed video is selected as cover video to hide secret image. Initially the frames are extracted and Group of Pictures (GOP) is formed from the extracted frames . These frames are subjected to YCbCr color conversion. The proposed system uses luminance value obtained from the red component while other color components i.e. U and V are obtained from green and blue components respectively. In the next stage reduction of the resolution is done using Chroma subsampling. The proposed system then applies the concept of motion compensation for the purpose of minimizing the redundancy factor with respect to the temporal data in it while this operation is followed by applying standard discrete cosine transform scheme for obtaining better compression outcome. Finally, quantization operation is applied on the top of this process for effective compression as well as for better control of redundancy factor with respect to spatial data. At the end, the proposed system applies a lossless compression scheme of run length encoding for achieving better encoding performance and further Huffman encoding scheme is also continued on it. At the receiver side the process has to be reversed that is called as decoding. In decoding stage the de quantization of the data is to be carried out. The proposed system uses motion vectors where the chunks of the ciphered data is basically hidden in the form of P frame and this operation is carried out only after histogram shifting is done. During the compression, the secret image bits are extracted from the corresponding motion vectors and histogram is shifted back. This achieves reversibility characteristics. This section discusses about the algorithm implemented for this purpose.
5.1 Algorithm for Reversible Data Hiding
The steps of the proposed system are as follows: The proposed algorithm takes the input of cover video (I), which is then used for framing up group of pictures Gop (Line-1). After digitizing the secret image (which is required to be hidden), the next step is to distinguish all the obtained frames into different macroblock size (Line-2). The proposed system then performs following operation on all the macro-blocks (Line-3): a standard discrete cosine transform (DCT) is applied on the macro-blocks from the spatial to frequency domain (Line-4) which is followed by applying standard quantization technique over the obtained matrix of DCT (Line-5). This process leads to generation of a dedicate motion vector obtained for all the values of P-frames (Line-7). The next process is to apply Histogram Shifting (HS) method for the generated motion vector for each P-frame (Line-8). A conditional statement is constructed (Line-9) which checks of the bits to be embedded is equivalent to 1. In case of positive scenario, the value of the pixel is maximized to 1 (Line-10) otherwise it is retained as it is (Line-12). This operation is iterated until a stopping criteria is met which is to check if the bits of complete secret image is actually populated in the destined motion vector corresponding to all the P-frame. The proposed system than apply Entropy encoding so that data is read in zig-zag order (Line-13) followed applying Huffman encoding to reduce size. Finally, the system stores the bit stream in a file.
6 Result Analysis
The outcome shows that MSE is slightly degraded with different video samples, however, the fluctuation is highly less (Fig. 8). On the other hand, There is no significant degradation in PSNR value even in different video samples to prove that size of secret image doesn’t have any potential degradation. Similar assessment is carried out on different combination of sizes of secret images on same as well as on different video to find that PSNR stays in the range of 30–40 dB. Hence, the proposed study can be said to offer a better form of data hiding performance.
This research paper has presented a unique data hiding scheme which remains reversible in nature. The process lets the secret image to be efficiently hidden within a multimedia file like video in the form of motion vector. To achieve the reversibility of cover video, Histogram Shifting of motion vectors has been done before the data embedding process. The proposed technique is less computationally complex and can be adjusted according to the varying needs. The analysis has been proved that the proposed system offers good and stabilized MSE and PSNR performance. The inference of the outcome shows that the proposed system offers a good imperceptibility towards the embedded multimedia file where PSNR performance is found good. At present, the method is only applicable to the MPEG2 video sequences. In future, the work can be deployed to other video formats in the compressed video domains.
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