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A convolutional neural network-based linguistic steganalysis for synonym substitution steganography

1 Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Intelligent Processing of Big Data on Transportation, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410114, Hunan, China
2 School of Computer and Communication Engineering, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410114, Hunan, China
3 Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Smart Roadway and Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems, Changsha University of Science and Technology, Changsha 410114, Hunan, China
4 Department of Computer Science, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR, USA 72035
5 Hunan Branch of CNCERT/CC, Changsha 410004, Hunan, China

Special Issues: Information Multimedia Hiding & Forensics based on Intelligent Devices

In this paper, a linguistic steganalysis method based on two-level cascaded convolutional neural networks (CNNs) is proposed to improve the system’s ability to detect stego texts, which are generated via synonym substitutions. The first-level network, sentence-level CNN, consists of one convolutional layer with multiple convolutional kernels in different window sizes, one pooling layer to deal with variable sentence lengths, and one fully connected layer with dropout as well as a softmax output, such that two final steganographic features are obtained for each sentence. The unmodified and modified sentences, along with their words, are represented in the form of pre-trained dense word embeddings, which serve as the input of the network. Sentence-level CNN provides the representation of a sentence, and can thus be utilized to predict whether a sentence is unmodified or has been modified by synonym substitutions. In the second level, a text-level CNN exploits the predicted representations of sentences obtained from the sentence-level CNN to determine whether the detected text is a stego text or cover text. Experimental results indicate that the proposed sentence-level CNN can effectively extract sentence features for sentence-level steganalysis tasks and reaches an average accuracy of 82.245%. Moreover, the proposed steganalysis method achieves greatly improved detection performance when distinguishing stego texts from cover texts.
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Keywords steganalysis; steganography; synonym substitution; word embedding; convolutional neural network

Citation: Lingyun Xiang, Guoqing Guo, Jingming Yu, Victor S. Sheng, Peng Yang. A convolutional neural network-based linguistic steganalysis for synonym substitution steganography. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2020, 17(2): 1041-1058. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2020055

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