A novel and easy method to embed any form of secret messages into a cover image with controlled distortion is proposed. Any lossy image compressor may be applied first to a cover image to produce a lossily-processed result as the basis for embedding data in the cover image. The stego-image is produced by embedding data in each pixel of a cover image by changing its gray value without excessing the range of the gray value difference of the corresponding pixels of the cover image and its lossily-processed one. The quantity of distortion that is caused by embedding data is never in excess of that is caused by the lossy compressor. A multiple-based number system is proposed to convert the information in the secret bit stream into values to be embedded in the choosing pixels of the cover image. Pseudo-random mechanisms may be used to achieve cryptography. It is found from experiments that the values of the peaks of the signal-to-noise ratio of the stego-images are larger than those yielded by the chosen compressor, which means that the distortion in the embedding result is more imperceptible than that in the compressed one.
- Data hiding
- Lossy compression
- Multiple-based number conversion
- Multiple-based number system
- Tolerable error range