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A Combination of Image and Text Steganography for Better Security and Maximum Payload Capacity

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Abstract— Steganography is the art and science of hiding information by embedding messages within other, seemingly harmless message. In this paper, we proposed a new method which is more secure and reliable. In conventional LSB method, the LSB bit is used to embed secret bit. In this method, all the eight bits of a pixel is used to embed a secret bit. All the bits from MSB to LSB of each pixel is compared with a secret bit and the position of the bit that matched with the secret bit is stored. After embedding all the secret bits an array of positions is produced. The position array is then secured within a text, image, audio or video and sent to the receiver over the internet. The cover image is not sent but the name of the cover image is sent symbolically. In this paper, we used the DNA approach to secure the position array which is text steganography. As data are embedded within a cover image without any changes, lowest MSE and highest PSNR value is evaluated. The payload capacity is also maximum.

Keywords— Image Steganography, Text Steganography, LSB, DNA, Payload Capacity.


Today, the internet is a public, cooperative and self-sustaining facility accessible to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. So, the security is the most common concern of information technology and communication. Cryptography is a way of securing information with the objective of converting information into unreadable ciphers (an encrypted piece of text). Many cryptographic algorithms have been proposed to secure information. But the problem with the cryptography is that the existence of information is understandable. Steganography is proposed to hide the existence of information. Steganography deals with embedding information in a given media without making any visible changes in it. Steganography comes from the Greek words “stegos” and “grafia” meaning covered writing. Steganography is categorized based on cover media. Text, image, audio, video, and protocol are used as cover.

In text steganography, the information is hidden behind some other text. In image steganography, an image is used as cover to hide information. It is the most common technique because of the limitation of the human visual system (HVS). The human eye can’t detect the huge range of colors and insignificant changes in the quality of an image that results from steganography. Least Significant Bit (LSB) replacement technique is the most common technique for image steganography. The LSB bit of each pixel in the cover image is used to embed the secret message.

This paper proposed a new method of hiding information by combining image and text steganography. Image steganography is based on our human visual system (HVS). Now a day’s steganography is very much popular. As a result hackers are aware of this technique. They attack stego images to break the steganography and reveal the information. Many methods have been proposed to optimize the changes in stego images results from steganography. But still has the chance of attacks as some changes occurred on stego image due to hiding the information in it. In this paper, we propose a new technique where the information is hidden inside a cover image without making any changes in it. We hide information in any of the eight bits of each pixel that matches with the secret bits. Then we store the position of bits that match. After hiding all the secret bits we get a position array. Then we secure the position array by DNA approach which is text steganography. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. After completing the text steganography a random DNA sequence is found. DNA sequence is the composition of four nitrogenous bases of DNA (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine). This sequence is sent over the internet instead of sending the stego image. The cover image must exist on the receiver’s computer.


Rupali Bhardwaj et al. [8] proposed a method which provides three levels of security, complementing secret message, hiding the complemented message in cover image pixels which are selected randomly, inverted bit LSB steganography is used. A random seed is used to choose the random pixels and the message bits are embedded in the least significant bit of chosen pixel.

Huda Dheyauldeen Najeb et al proposed a method that combines text and image steganography which is based on LSB and bit plane slicing. First, a text file is hidden inside a greyscale cover image using the LSB method. The stego1 image is then embedded within another cover image using bit plane slicing.

Yogita Birdi et al. [10] proposed a method that encrypts the data and then embeds within an image using the raster scan technique. This method used the raster scan technique of CRT display. Bits are embedded in the cover image in left to right and right to left scan.

Shivani Chauhan et al. [11] proposed a method that will take an RGB image as a cover image and the secret text is hidden in three planes of RGB image. The secret text is encrypted first using symmetric key cryptography technique. Then the ciphertext is hidden in the three planes of RGB image using raster scan technique. 2 bits are embedded in the LSB of red plane. 2 bits are embedded in LSB of green plane using raster scan (first scan left to right and next scan right to left). 4 bits are embedded in LSB of blue plane using raster scan (first scan top to bottom and next scan bottom to top). Better MSE and PSNR are evaluated.

Giridhar Maji et al. [12] proposed a method that uses two images named cover image and reference image to embed a secret message along with a secret key. The cover image is used to hide secret data and the reference image is used for the encoding process. The reference image is divided into blocks and paired LSB bits are stored in that blocks.

Rishi Agrawal et al. [13] proposed a method that uses a dictionary based substitution method to embed data within the DNA sequence. The secret message is converted to 8-bit binary. The binary string is checked whether it is a multiple of 6 or not. If not the extra 0’s are added. By using the codon secret bit strings are converted to the DNA sequence. The codon is the three letter combination of DNA bases such as ACT, GAG, and ATG etc. The DNA sequence is sent to the receiver. This method ensures lower cracking probability.

Malathi P et al. [14] proposed a paper which is based on DNA bases. A random DNA sequence is taken. Then the DNA bases are binary converted using DNA dictionary method and the bases are assigned two-digit binary values uniquely. The base A is 00, T is 01, G is 10 and C is 11. The secret message is converted to ASCII values and then converted to binary. The binary bits are hidden inside the binary converted DNA. Two random key values are used. First key K1 is used to XOR the message and make it a ciphertext. The second key K2 is used to segment the binary converted DNA sequence. After hiding the secret bits a fake DNA sequence is generated and sent to the receiver.


In this paper, we combined the image and text steganography to ameliorate security and payload capacity. This method is divided into two parts. The first part is image steganography and the second is text steganography.

A. Image Steganography

Instead of considering only the LSB bit, we use any of the eight bits of each pixel to hide a secret bit. MSB is considered as position 1 and LSB as position 8. Each bit of secret message is compared with all the eight bits from MSB to LSB of each pixel. The position of the bit that matched first with the secret bit is stored in a position array. For next secret bit, we take the next pixel and compare the secret bit with the eight bits of a pixel value. When the bit is matched, the position is stored in the same array. We go through all the secret bits and store the positions. For each secret bit, we get a position value. For 8 secret bits, we need 8 pixels sequentially. We get eight positions. The image steganography is completed. The secret message is hidden inside the cover image without any changes.

B. Text Steganography

In this method, Text steganography is used to secure the position array. Each element of the position array is between 1 and 8. It needs four bits to represent each element of the position array in binary. After representing each element of the position array in binary we get a bit stream. If the position array has 8 elements we get a 32 bit long bit stream. We use DNA approach to hide the bit stream. DNA consists of four nitrogenous bases (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine). In short, A, T, G, and C. By using these nitrogenous bases we can create sequences called DNA sequence. Let A=00, T=01, G=10 and C=11. We can use the combination of these nitrogenous bases to represent the position by DNA sequence. That is

1 = 00 01 = AT 2 = 00 10 = AG

3 = 00 11 = AC 4 = 01 00 = TA

5 = 01 01 = TT 6 = 01 10 = TG

7 = 01 11 = TC 8 = 1000 = GA

So, finally, we get a DNA sequence like ATTTATATATATATAT. For 8-bit secret message, a DNA sequence of length 16 is produced. Text steganography is completed. This text is sent to the receiver. The cover image that holds the secret message bits must exist in both the sender’s and receiver’s computer. Some images must be predefined for cover images and the sender symbolically sent the name of the cover image to the receiver.

All the existing methods improve the MSE and PSNR value by providing an efficient algorithm. Our motivation is to achieve the lowest MSE and highest PSNR value. In words, we want to hide data inside an image without changing the image.

In our proposed method, the value of MSE is zero. After putting the value of MSE in the equation of PSNR, we got infinity. That means the quality of the image is 100 % accurate.

Existing methods improve the MSE and PSNR value by decreasing the payload capacity. In our method, payload capacity is maximum comparing the existing methods because all the pixels of the cover image is used to hide data.

Existing methods are dependent on image file formats. But the proposed method is independent of image file formats.

In this method, text steganography is used to secure the position array.

The length of DNA Sequence is 2 * N.

Here N is the total number of bits that has been embedded in the cover image.

That means, for a single character of the secret message, this algorithm produces a DNA sequence of 16 (2 * 8) lengths. So for 100 characters long message, a DNA sequence of 1600 length is generated which is very much secure. If the hacker is enough genius to break the text steganography and retrieve the position array, the secret message is still secured as the cover image is unknown.


The proposed method is highly secured because the cover image is not shared through the internet. The combination of image and text steganography makes it more secure than other existing methods. The popular DNA approach is used in hiding the position array to confuse the hacker. All existing methods use 8-bit binary representation but in this method, we represent each value by 4 bits. This method is very simple but reliable and efficient. The main concern is that the cover image must exist in the receiver’s computer. The sender must not send the cover image over the internet. Thus the security of hidden data is assured. In future, we want to provide a better algorithm for securing the position array using an image, audio or video steganography.

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A Combination of Image and Text Steganography for Better Security and Maximum Payload Capacity. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from
“A Combination of Image and Text Steganography for Better Security and Maximum Payload Capacity.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019,
A Combination of Image and Text Steganography for Better Security and Maximum Payload Capacity. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jun. 2022].
A Combination of Image and Text Steganography for Better Security and Maximum Payload Capacity [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2022 Jun 29]. Available from:
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