Bucket attack on numeric set watermarking model and safeguards

Gaurav Gupta*, Josef Pieprzyk, Len Hamey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Numeric set watermarking is a way to provide ownership proof for numerical data. Numerical data can be considered to be primitives for multimedia types such as images and videos since they are organized forms of numeric information. Thereby, the capability to watermark numerical data directly implies the capability to watermark multimedia objects and discourage information theft on social networking sites and the Internet in general. Unfortunately, there has been very limited research done in the field of numeric set watermarking due to underlying limitations in terms of number of items in the set and LSBs in each item available for watermarking. In 2009, Gupta et al. proposed a numeric set watermarking model that embeds watermark bits in the items of the set based on a hash value of the items' most significant bits (MSBs). If an item is chosen for watermarking, a watermark bit is embedded in the least significant bits, and the replaced bit is inserted in the fractional value to provide reversibility. The authors show their scheme to be resilient against the traditional subset addition, deletion, and modification attacks as well as secondary watermarking attacks. In this paper, we present a bucket attack on this watermarking model. The attack consists of creating buckets of items with the same MSBs and determine if the items of the bucket carry watermark bits. Experimental results show that the bucket attack is very strong and destroys the entire watermark with close to 100% success rate. We examine the inherent weaknesses in the watermarking model of Gupta et al. that leave it vulnerable to the bucket attack and propose potential safeguards that can provide resilience against this attack. Categories and subject descriptors: [intellectual-property protection]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalInformation Security Technical Report
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


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