A secure and flexible authentication system for digital images
Authentication of image data is a challenging task. Unlike data authentication systems that detect a single bit change in the data, image authentication systems must remain tolerant to changes resulting from acceptable image processing or compression algorithms while detecting malicious tampering with the image. Tolerance to the changes due to lossy compression systems is particularly important because in the majority of cases images are stored and transmitted in compressed form, and so it is important for verification to succeed if the compression is within the allowable range. In this paper we consider an image authentication system that generates an authentication tag that can be appended to an image to allow the verifier to verify the authenticity of the image. We propose a secure, flexible, and efficeint image authentication algorithm that is tolerant to image degradation due to JPEG lossy compression within designed levels. (JPEG is the most widely used image compression system and is the de facto industry standard.) By secure we mean that the cost of the best known attack againt the system is high, by flexible we mean that the level of protection can be adjusted so that higher security can be obtained with increased length of the authentication tag, and by efficient we mean that the computation can be performed largely as part of the JPEG compression, allowing the generation of the authentication tag to be efficiently integrated into the compression system. The authentication tag consists of a number of feature codes that can be computed in parallel, and thus computing the tag is effectively equivalent to computing a single feature code. We prove the soundness of the algorithm and show the security of the system. Finally, we give the results of our experiments.