Forensic steganalysis for identification of steganography software tools using multiple format image

S. T. Veena, A. Selvaraj


Today many steganographic software tools are freely available on the Internet, which helps even callow users to have covert communication through digital images. Targeted structural image steganalysers identify only a particular steganographic software tool by tracing the unique fingerprint left in the stego images by the steganographic process. Image steganalysis proves to be a tough challenging task if the process is blind and universal, the secret payload is very less and the cover image is in lossless compression format. A payload independent universal steganalyser which identifies the steganographic software tools by exploiting the traces of artefacts left in the image and in its metadata for five different image formats is proposed. First, the artefacts in image metadata are identified and clustered to form distinct groups by extended K-means clustering. The group that is identical to the cover is further processed by extracting the artefacts in the image data. This is done by developing a signature of the steganographic software tool from its stego images. They are then matched for steganographic software tool identification. Thus, the steganalyser successfully identifies the stego images in five different image formats, out of which four are lossless, even for a payload of 1 byte. Its performance is also compared with the existing steganalyser software tool.


Clustering; Image metadata; Signature artefact; Steganographic software tool; Structural steganalysis; Targeted steganalysis; Universal image steganalysis

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