skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Extracting hidden messages in steganographic images

The eventual goal of steganalytic forensic is to extract the hidden messages embedded in steganographic images. A promising technique that addresses this problem partially is steganographic payload location, an approach to reveal the message bits, but not their logical order. It works by finding modified pixels, or residuals, as an artifact of the embedding process. This technique is successful against simple least-significant bit steganography and group-parity steganography. The actual messages, however, remain hidden as no logical order can be inferred from the located payload. This paper establishes an important result addressing this shortcoming: we show that the expected mean residuals contain enough information to logically order the located payload provided that the size of the payload in each stego image is not fixed. The located payload can be ordered as prescribed by the mean residuals to obtain the hidden messages without knowledge of the embedding key, exposing the vulnerability of these embedding algorithms. We provide experimental results to support our analysis.
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1742-2876; PII: S1742287614000462
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Digital Investigation
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: S2; Journal ID: ISSN 1742-2876
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING Steganography; Steganalysis; Payload location; Message extraction; Embedding key; Logical order