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Research Article
 

Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography



Rengarajan Amirtharajan, Krishnamourthy Karthikeyan, Malligaraj Malleswaran and J.B.B. Rayappan
 
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ABSTRACT

The developments in expertise and internet fruition have amplified dependence on systems and IT abided by the demand to secure the same. This intriguing effort in electronic world has unfolded a new boulevard called cyber defense. In this world of cyber hacking, information security plays a vital role. Primitive techniques though are old but are very helpful in giving a perfect outline of things away from human thoughts. One such technique is the Magic Square Method, wherein the brilliant orientation of the numbers leads to a perfect matrix useful for any mathematical developments. Block Segmentation in this study involves two kolams firstly the Kubera Kolam is the magic square that is employed and incorporated for introducing the randomization. Further is the Pulli Kolam, square for acting as the symmetric key for giving the precise bits to be hidden. Further on, modifiable pixel indicator gets slightly altered from the rudiments and is used to accomplish a much efficient and effective indicator liken the conventional one.

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  How to cite this article:

Rengarajan Amirtharajan, Krishnamourthy Karthikeyan, Malligaraj Malleswaran and J.B.B. Rayappan, 2013. Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography. Research Journal of Information Technology, 5: 304-316.

DOI: 10.3923/rjit.2013.304.316

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=rjit.2013.304.316
 
Received: April 29, 2013; Accepted: May 15, 2013; Published: August 06, 2013



INTRODUCTION

Communication being inevitable of daily routine has produced uprising right from the Stone period. Technology germinates for our own good, thus becomes better for our own best. Communicating technologies augments at each and every pace, say as of sheer contact to digital communication and to video tête-à-tête to even live discussion. This is all because of some brilliant brains. But this brilliant piece of work is illegally destroyed and killed by many computer professionals (as they call) but the hackers. These marvelous reforms in the technology are expanding, but not exponentially increasing for the same reason. However, this could be raised by only one means and that is information security (Cheddad et al., 2010; Salem et al., 2011; Schneier, 2007; Stefan and Fabin, 2000). Any form of life needs security so does the data. Myriad methods since the past decade are being discovered (Amirtharajan and Rayappan, 2012a-d; Amirtharajan et al., 2012; Bender et al., 1996; Cheddad et al., 2010; Janakiraman et al., 2012a, b; Rajagopalan et al., 2012; Thenmozhi et al., 2012) to save the data but in vain every method, hackers find better means to crack into the data (Schneier, 2007; Qin et al., 2010).

The need for a fulltime settlement of security arose and cryptography emerged as a powerful tool then, the algorithms created were almost the best, not de-cryptable and was providing the feature of protection of intermediate changing means (Salem et al., 2011; Schneier, 2007). Nevertheless, the only drawback to it was the image or content that was encrypted might had completely deformed, wherein one easily figures out that there is some manipulation done on that piece of data (Schneier, 2007; Qin et al., 2010; Zaidan et al., 2010). Now, this was not advisable for the reason that any hacker could poach into the data owing to the fact that something has changed.

This led to the rise of the super power technology of hiding data, Steganography (Al-Azawi and Fadhil, 2010; Al-Frajat et al., 2010; Xiang et al., 2011; Zanganeh and Ibrahim, 2011; Zhao and Luo, 2012; Zhu et al., 2011). Till date flawless, every feature incorporated proved to be the best and many more to be brought (Gutub, 2010; Luo et al., 2011; Mohammad et al., 2011; Padmaa et al., 2011; Thanikaiselvan et al., 2011; Zhao and Luo, 2012). The concept is of the usage of cover image to cover the secret data and create an illusion of nothing being in it. This piece of algorithm in the initial stage was done minimal number of randomizations in the image and data. But of late, several randomizations are made introduced in every fortnight, which for any hacker to actually know the piece of data after unveiling all the randomizations would at least a few years’ time, by which the task would have been accomplished.

This addition to the security since the past few years has again brought back the zeal for inventions of better communication technologies along with information security, starting from Pranav mistry’s sixth sense to thoughts of using 5G technology. Another classification in information security is watermarking (Abdulfetah et al., 2010; Zeki et al., 2011) its objective it to provide authorship through copyright protection. Reviewing the existing literature suggest to implement random image steganography with high capacity, good imperceptibility with additional complexity. Hence, this study proposes a method to accommodate all the necessary requirements of image steganography through kubera kolam.

PROPOSED METHODOLOGY

The indicator channel for the initial process is RED channel. For the embedding procedure, the algorithm is designed for a 6x6 block of an image, as in the image is sub-classified into blocks of 6x6 each and the algorithm is made to work on the each individual block of it. The bare part of Steganography, randomization is incorporated and inculcated with the magic square called Kubera Kolam.

The interesting part of Kubera Kolam is its wide usage in both puja room and may be in steganography algorithms. The magic square of Kubera Kolam is the sum of its any dimensional extension yields to 72 as shown in Fig. 1a. A subtraction of 19 from the Magic Square (Kubera Kolam) will interestingly lead to another magic square but with numbers from 1 extending to 9 and summing to 15 as shown in Fig. 1b.

Extending the 3x3 to 6x6 leads to the square as in Fig. 2.

Pixels of every 6x6 segment of the image is further rearranged and embedded in the same fashion with reference to the numbers formed in the above block, blinding the third party regarding the order of embedding.

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 1(a-b): (a) The magic square of Kubera Kolam and (b) New magic square with a subtraction of 19 from 1a


Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 2: Extension of magic square from 3x3 to 6x6

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 3: Digital image of Pulli kolam


Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 4: Embedding capacity offered by the pixels in Pulli kolam

The Kolam design shown below in Fig. 3 is the Pulli Kolam which acts the symmetric key for the embedding of the user’s message.

The number of curves or line on every dot is taken into account and a matrix is formed. For example, the top right dot has just one curve and the adjacent ones consist two each and so on.

Specifically, this dot in the Kolam gives the pixels for embedding as in Fig. 4 and gives the amount of bits for embedding in all pixels. After reading the sender’s message, Kubera Kolam matrix is now referred for the embedding order number and the equivalent position in the Pulli Kolam matrix is matched and the number in that position decides the number of bits to be read from the bit stream and embedded into appropriate place in the formed 6x6 block.

The further randomization is done with the conventional pixel indicator but with some slight modifications. Here, the 5th bit of the data channels (Blue and green) in that pixel is used to decide the reference bits in the indicator channel considered initially. As in, the 5th bits of both the channels turn out to be 0 and 0 then, last 2 bits of indicator channel will be acting as reference bits and if the bits are 0 and 1 then the 2nd and 3rd LSB’s are taken as reference bits and if its 1 and 0, the 3rd and 4th LSB’s are taken and finally if its 1 and 1 then 4th and 5th LSB’s are taken as reference. Now based on the reference bits the mode of embedding is decided i.e., 0 0 implies no embedding and 0 1 means embedding in blue channel and 1 0 in green channel and 1 1 in both. Further methods have also been introduced for the dynamicity of the encryption.

Method 2: Deals with indicator channel being decided by the sender at run time by accepting a value (1, 2 and 3).

Method 3: Proves considerably more efficient than the previous two as the indicator channel for that block is decided by the Mod 3 of the ixj value of the present block under embedding. The MOD result of 0 implies RED, 1 Green and 2 Blue planes.

The algorithm for this scheme is clarified below and the flowchart is given in Fig. 5.

Method 1:
Embedding algorithm

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Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 5: Flow chart for proposed method

Recovery algorithm
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Method 2:
Embedding algorithm

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography

Recovery algorithm
Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography

Method 3:
Embedding algorithm

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography

Recovery algorithm
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ERROR METRICS

The quality of the stego image is calculated through two universal parameters viz., mean square error and the peak signal to noise ratio.

The MSE is calculated by the equation:

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography

Where, M is pixels in horizontal dimension and N is pixels in the vertical dimension in Xi and Yj where i, j constitutes pixels of original and stego images, respectively.

The peak signal to noise ratio is given by the equation:

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography

where, I2 max is every pixel’s intensity value. High PSNR values indicate high visual quality.

Image for - Kubera Kolam: A Way for Random Image Steganography
Fig. 6(a-d): Cover images (a) Lena, (b) Baboon, (c) Mahatma Gandhi and (d) Temple

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Fig. 7(a-d): Stego images for 3 methods, (a) Lena, (b) Baboon, (c) Mahatma Gandhi and (d) Temple

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In this script Lena, Gandhi, Baboon and Temple of 300x300 color images are taken the covers as given below in Fig. 6a-d and tested for full embedding capacity. The operation of the intended routine is rationalized via MSE and PSNR for the four covers in RGB planes through three different procedures and the results are given in the table.

The stego images that were obtained in the various methods are given in Fig. 7 and histograms for Lena image for all three methods are depicted in Fig. 8.

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Fig. 8: Histograms for Lena image, Red: Method 1, Green: Method 2 and Blue: Method 3

Method 1 uses Red as indicator channel and results are given in Table 1.The drawback of the first method is overcome in the second method by giving the user the liberalization to choose the indicator channel, whose results are given in Table 2. The third method changes the indicator channel for each pixel which gives no clue to the intruder about the indicator channel. The results of the third method are given in the Table 3. The corresponding tables are as follows.

Table 1: Experimental values of image metrics obtained for method 1
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Table 2: Experimental values of image metrics obtained for method 2
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Table 3: Experimental values of image metrics obtained for method 3
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CONCLUSION

Kolam is a mincing floor painting symbolizing exquisiteness as well as welcoming environs. To put it technically, it is a unique form of image incorporating diverse patterns and moreover they have various names based on such patterns. Each mention has its own distinct feature and devout values. Using Kolas as gizmos in image steganography is veritably thought provoking. Undoubtedly, it is an unparalleled choice to render this paper as a unique work. In this paper the Kubera kolam and the Pulli kolam are utilized for randomizing the pixel and finding the volume of bits for embedding in each and every pixel. Pixel indicator method is adopted for embedding the secret bits which is a universally agreed efficient mode for Steganography. This paper is a blend of cryptography and steganography thus assuring security and complexity in its own right. MSE and PSNR values confirm this wrap up which also stands for enhanced imperceptibility. Thus the proposed methods increase the complexity of the secret data embedding and are determined to be beneficial.

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