Secure Data Hiding Using Eight Queens Solutions

Secure Data Hiding Using Eight Queens Solutions

Sunil Kumar Muttoo (Department of Computer Science, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India), Vinay Kumar (Department of IT, Vivekanand Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi, India) and Abhishek Bansal (Department of Computer Science, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, India)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jisp.2012100103
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Abstract

The 8-queens problem of placing 8 non-attacking queens on an 8x8 chessboard is used to hide message in an image. The method helps in randomizing the bit selection in a cover image for hiding purpose. Cover image is divided into blocks of 8x1 bytes and then masked with solutions of the 8-queens problem. Bits from the block are collected corresponding to the 8-queen solution to make a 7 bit string. LSB of the block is not considered. It gives a number in the range of 0 to 127. If a bit string, corresponding to the 8-queens solutions, matches with ASCII code of the first character from message, the corresponding solution number of the 8-queens problem is encrypted using RC4, and the cipher is stored in first block of the cover. This encrypted value works as key. The solution number corresponding to next character is XORED with the key and the resultant value is embedded in the LSB of next block. The algorithm has been tested with cover of different image file formats like BMP, PNG and TIFF. The algorithm provides very good capacity, imperceptibility and robustness.
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1. Introduction

In Information security, data hiding (Katzenbeisser & Petitcolas, 2000; Provos & Honeyman, 2003) is commonly used to embed secret information into an innocuous digital cover. A digital cover may be audio, video, text, still image or any digital file. The technique of hiding digital information in another digital cover is also called steganography. Steganography has been in use for a very long time. However in recent days the steganography has attracted many researchers due to enormous scope of hiding digital information in a digital cover. Different type of digital file is stored in its own specific file format. If a file format provides enough redundancy, it is used to embed secret message in it. Alternatively, changing a few bits here and there in a digital file goes unnoticed by a third party and this provides scope for hiding information. In this work we have tested the algorithm with images stored in BMP (Muttoo & Kumar, 2010a; Staples & Wienman, 2005), PNG and TIFF format (Staples & Wienman, 2005).

In this modern era, more and more communication is taking place using public digital communication networks. A message travels across many subnets, administratively controlled by independent authority, before finally reaching its destination. Encryption and steganography are used to protect the secrecy and privacy of a message by ensuring that the message is not accessed by any third party during its life period of secrecy. The purpose of Steganography is to conceal the fact that some communication is taking place. This is achieved by hiding the secret message within another seemingly innocuous message, or carrier (Kumar & Muttoo 2011; Muttoo & Kumar, 2010b). Cryptography on the other hand does so by scrambling the data so that it should not be understood to the third party (Wang, Wu, Tsai & Hwang, 2008).

The important requirement for a steganographic system is its detectability by an attacker with probability not better than random guessing, given the full knowledge of the embedding algorithm and statistical properties of cover object (Amirtharajan & Balaguru, 2009; Shih, 2008; Jung, Ha & Yoo, 2008). The distortion in cover object due to data hiding is not desirable in some applications like medical images, visual artefacts etc. In steganographic system, a digital file that is used as a carrier for hidden information is called Cover object. Cover object is also called host object. A message is text or any information that needs to be protected to ensure its privacy and secrecy. Once the message is embedded into cover object, the cover object is called stego object. Whenever a key is used to hide and extract the secret message in a steganographic system, it is called stego key.

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