A New Distortion Function Design for JPEG Steganography Using the Generalized Uniform Embedding Strategy

Wenkang Su, Jiangqun Ni, Xiaohan Li, Yun Qing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Nowadays, the most prevailing approach to steganography is the minimal embedding distortion framework, which includes an optimizable distortion function for each cover element and an encoding method to minimize the distortion. With the emergence of Syndrome-Trellis Code, the distortion function plays an increasingly important role in modern adaptive image steganography. In this letter, a new distortion function called generalized uniform embedding distortion (GUED) is proposed for JPEG steganography. The proposed GUED consists of the new distortion measures for both Alternating Current (AC) mode and Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) block, which are represented in a more general exponential model, aiming to flexibly allocate the embedding data so as to minimize the global changes of the statistics of quantized DCT coefficients after embedding. In addition, an empirical rule is developed to determine the parameters of the exponential function according to the payload and quality factor. By exploring the statistics of both DCT and spatial domains, the proposed GUED is shown to be more consistent with the objective of generalized uniform embedding strategy, i.e., maintaining the relative changes of DCT coefficients to be proportional to their coefficients of variations. Extensive experiments demonstrate that the proposed GUED gains significant performance improvements when compared with its original UERD, and outperforms the state-of-The-Art J-UNIWARD with markedly reduced computation time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8435952
Pages (from-to)3545-3549
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • JPEG steganography
  • distortion function
  • uniform embedding


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