On the Security of Selectively Encrypted HEVC Video Bitstreams

ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing Communications and Applications (ACM TOMM)


Chen Chen (Tsinghua University, China),  Lingfeng Qu (Guangzhou University, China), Hadi Amirpour (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), Xingjun Wang (Tsinghua University, China),  Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), and Zhihong Tian (Guangzhou University, China)


With the growing applications of video, ensuring its security has become of utmost importance. Selective encryption (SE) has gained significant attention in the field of video content protection due to its compatibility with video codecs, favorable visual distortion, and low time complexity. However, few studies consider SE security under cryptographic attacks. To fill this gap, we analyze the security concerns of encrypted bitstreams by SE schemes and propose two known plaintext attacks (KPAs). Then, the corresponding defense is presented against the KPAs.To validate the effectiveness of the KPA, it is applied to attack two existing SE schemes with superior visual degradation in HEVC videos.

Firstly, the encrypted bitstreams are generated using the HEVC encoder with SE (HESE).
Secondly, the video sequences are encoded using H.265/HEVC. During encoding, the selected syntax elements are recorded. Then, the recorded syntax elements are imported into the HEVC decoder using decryption (HDD). By utilizing the encryption parameters and the imported data in the HDD, it becomes possible to reconstruct a significant portion of the original syntax elements before encryption. Finally, the reconstructed syntax elements are compared with the encrypted syntax elements in the HDD, allowing the design of a pseudo-key stream (PKS) through the inverse of the encryption operations. The PKS is used to decrypt the existing SE scheme, and the experimental results provide evidence that the two existing SE schemes are vulnerable to the proposed KPAs.
In the case of single bitstream estimation (SBE), the average correct rate of key stream estimation exceeds 93%. Moreover, with multi-bitstream complementation (MBC), the average estimation accuracy can be further improved to 99%.


This entry was posted in ATHENA. Bookmark the permalink.