New framework for reversible data hiding in encrypted domain

Fangjun Huang, Jiwu Huang, Yun Qing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


In the past more than one decade, hundreds of reversible data hiding (RDH) algorithms have been reported. Via exploring the correlation between the neighboring pixels (or coefficients), extra information can be embedded into the host image reversibly. However, these RDH algorithms cannot be accomplished in encrypted domain directly, since the correlation between the neighboring pixels will disappear after encryption. In order to accomplish RDH in encrypted domain, specific RDH schemes have been designed according to the encryption algorithm utilized. In this paper, we propose a new simple yet effective framework for RDH in encrypted domain. In the proposed framework, the pixels in a plain image are first divided into sub-blocks with the size of m × n. Then, with an encryption key, a key stream (a stream of random or pseudorandom bits/bytes that are combined with a plaintext message to produce the encrypted message) is generated, and the pixels in the same sub-block are encrypted with the same key stream byte. After the stream encryption, the encrypted m × n sub-blocks are randomly permutated with a permutation key. Since the correlation between the neighboring pixels in each sub-block can be well preserved in the encrypted domain, most of those previously proposed RDH schemes can be applied to the encrypted image directly. One of the main merits of the proposed framework is that the RDH scheme is independent of the image encryption algorithm. That is, the server manager (or channel administrator) does not need to design a new RDH scheme according to the encryption algorithm that has been conducted by the content owner; instead, he/she can accomplish the data hiding by applying the numerous RDH algorithms previously proposed to the encrypted domain directly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7536102
Pages (from-to)2777-2789
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Reversible data hiding
  • key stream
  • permutation
  • stream encryption
  • the encrypted domain


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