Data hiding in encrypted H.264/AVC video streams by codeword substitution

Dawen Xu, Rangding Wang, Yun Q. Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Digital video sometimes needs to be stored and processed in an encrypted format to maintain security and privacy. For the purpose of content notation and/or tampering detection, it is necessary to perform data hiding in these encrypted videos. In this way, data hiding in encrypted domain without decryption preserves the confidentiality of the content. In addition, it is more efficient without decryption followed by data hiding and re-encryption. In this paper, a novel scheme of data hiding directly in the encrypted version of H.264/AVC video stream is proposed, which includes the following three parts, i.e., H.264/AVC video encryption, data embedding, and data extraction. By analyzing the property of H.264/AVC codec, the codewords of intraprediction modes, the codewords of motion vector differences, and the codewords of residual coefficients are encrypted with stream ciphers. Then, a data hider may embed additional data in the encrypted domain by using codeword substitution technique, without knowing the original video content. In order to adapt to different application scenarios, data extraction can be done either in the encrypted domain or in the decrypted domain. Furthermore, video file size is strictly preserved even after encryption and data embedding. Experimental results have demonstrated the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6725633
Pages (from-to)596-606
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Data hiding
  • H.264/AVC
  • codeword substituting
  • encrypted domain


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