Reversible Data Hiding in JPEG Images

Fangjun Huang, Xiaochao Qu, Hyoung Joong Kim, Jiwu Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Among various digital image formats used in daily life, the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is the most popular. Therefore, reversible data hiding (RDH) in JPEG images is important and useful for many applications such as archive management and image authentication. However, RDH in JPEG images is considerably more difficult than that in uncompressed images because there is less information redundancy in JPEG images than that in uncompressed images, and any modification in the compressed domain may introduce more distortion in the host image. Furthermore, along with the embedding capacity and fidelity (visual quality), which have to be considered for uncompressed images, the storage size of the marked JPEG file should be considered. In this paper, based on the philosophy behind the JPEG encoder and the statistical properties of discrete cosine transform (DCT) coefficients, we present some basic insights into how to select quantized DCT coefficients for RDH. Then, a new histogram shifting-based RDH scheme for JPEG images is proposed, in which the zero coefficients remain unchanged and only coefficients with values 1 and-1 are expanded to carry message bits. Moreover, a block selection strategy based on the number of zero coefficients in each 8×8 block is proposed, which can be utilized to adaptively choose DCT coefficients for data hiding. Experimental results demonstrate that by using the proposed method we can easily realize high embedding capacity and good visual quality. The storage size of the host JPEG file can also be well preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7225117
Pages (from-to)1610-1621
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep


  • Block selection
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
  • Reversible data hiding (RDH)
  • histogram shifting (HS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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