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Fast Protection of H.264/AVC by Selective Encryption of CAVLC and CABAC for I and P Frames

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3 Author(s)
Zafar Shahid ; Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics, and Microelectronics, University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France ; Marc Chaumont ; William Puech

This paper presents a novel method for the protection of bitstreams of state-of-the-art video codec H.264/AVC. The problem of selective encryption (SE) is addressed along with the compression in the entropy coding modules. H.264/AVC supports two types of entropy coding modules. Context-adaptive variable length coding (CAVLC) is supported in H.264/AVC baseline profile and context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC) is supported in H.264/AVC main profile. SE is performed in both types of entropy coding modules of this video codec. For this purpose, in this paper the encryption step is done simultaneously with the entropy coding CAVLC or CABAC. SE is performed by using the advanced encryption standard (AES) algorithm with the cipher feedback mode on a subset of codewords/binstrings. For CAVLC, SE is performed on equal length codewords from a specific variable length coding table. In case of CABAC, it is done on equal length binstrings. In our scheme, entropy coding module serves the purpose of encryption cipher without affecting the coding efficiency of H.264/AVC by keeping exactly the same bitrate, generating completely compliant bitstream and utilizing negligible computational power. Owing to no escalation in bitrate, our encryption algorithm is better suited for real-time multimedia streaming over heterogeneous networks. It is perfect for playback on handheld devices because of negligible increase in processing power. Nine different benchmark video sequences containing different combinations of motion, texture, and objects are used for experimental evaluation of the proposed algorithm.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 5 )