DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A ROBUST STEGANOGRAPHIC SYSTEM FOR EMBEDMENT OF SENSITIVE INFORMATION
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1.0 Background of the study
In this digital world of information transmission, information is the heart of computers, transmission and global economy transaction. In ensuring the security of data and information (confidentiality integrity, accuracy and authenticity) as characteristics of information, the concept of data and information hiding have attracted people to come up with creative solutions to protecting sensitive information from being intercepted or falling into wrong hands. The problem of protecting this sensitive information from unintended users is becoming complex.
In a modern society, and Nigeria in particular, the protection of sensitive information involves many, interdependent policies and technological issues relating to information confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, anonymity, utility (Gideon Gbaden Amah 2015).
Many users would prefer to use the Internet as their primary medium of transmission with the advancement in technologies since the introduction of cashless economy in Nigeria where the Internet is the main medium of transaction across the Nigerian state.
Data security means the protection of data from unauthorized user (hackers, attackers or adversaries) and providing high security so as to prevent modification and interception of sensitive information (Gideon Gbaden Amah 2015) in transmission. The security of sensitive information has attracted more attention in recent times due to massive increase in transfer, research and transaction over the Internet.
In improving security of information transmission and transaction over the Internet, so many techniques for hiding sensitive information are increasing day by day with more sophisticated approaches. The digital media used for this secret (hidden) transmission and transaction include text, images, audio, video, and protocol which provides excellent carriers for hidden information. Due to the growth of information transmission and transaction, the security of sensitive information has become a major concern (S. A Laskar, etal 1990). The deployed techniques for improvement of security of information include, watermarking, fingerprinting, cryptography, and steganography etc.
Watermarking and fingerprinting are closely related technologies to steganography (Kavith Kadam 2013), which are primary concerned with the protection of intellectual property right.
Watermarking marks all the instance of an object in the same way. Signature is the kind of information hidden in water making to signify that the originality or ownership for the purpose of copyright property. Fingerprinting embeds different unique mask (Kavith Kadam 2012) in distinct copies of the carrier object that are supplied to different customers. With this, the intellectual owner identifies the customer that break or violates their licensing agreement by supplying the property to third parties. Cryptography is a techniques used in securing the secrecy of transmitted information. It is not often enough to keep the contents of a message secret. Various methods have been developed in encrypting and decrypting data in order to keep the information secret. It may also be necessary to keep the existence of information secret.
Steganography is a technique used in keeping the existence of an information secret.
Fig1: Basic Steganography Architecture.
The research work is motivated by the challenges of transmitting sensitive information from the sender to a targeted recipient with an interception of a third party or adversary considering the security challenges of confidentiality, integrity and availability of data in Nigeria.
1.2 Objective or Goal of the Research Work
The basic goal of the work is to provide secret transmission of the sensitive information, other goals include
- To design a robust steganographic: algorithm to embed sensitive information.
- To transmit the embedded (stego image) to a target recipient.
- To decrypt the embedded image to obtain the sensitive information.
- To successful transmit the message or information without interception of an adversary or attacker.
- To generate a secret key for encrypting and decrypting of the message.
- To transmit the secrete key to the recipient.
1.3 Applicable Areas of the Proposed Work
Considering cyber security and other related security challenges, the work if adopted could provide the security of data and information to the following;
- Aid transmission of high-level or top-secret documents between governments and her agencies.
- In identity management (identity card), details of personal information could be embedded in JPEG image as passport photography.
- It could be implemented by INEC in safely online election in online voting system.
- Use by the Nigeria Military Force in communication system.
- Use in the medical field to communicate hidden details of patients’ treatment as it could be embedded into images and send to authorized users so as to reduce time period of carry file, cost and protection of the resulting information.
1.4 Scope and Limitation
- The research work was mainly targeted on image steganography by embedding the sensitive information in a stego image.
- The statistical analysis of the stego-image was not considered.
- Java platform format was developed to embed the information.
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