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Understanding Multimedia Security

Qibin , Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), Singapore

Pages: pp. 88-89

B. Furht and D. Kirovski, Multimedia Security Handbook, CRC Press, 2004, $89.95, 832 pp., ISBN 0-8493-2773-3.

Secure multimedia protection and rights management is a core enabling technology that takes advantage of the newest technologies in multimedia processing and communications while suppressing their disadvantages such as piracy. For the industry to successfully deploy any multimedia media services, it's crucial to ensure multimedia data's confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

With this in mind, Multimedia Security Handbook meets this timely demand as a comprehensive reference on advanced topics in this field. The two editors, Borko Furht and Darko Kirovski, together with the authors who contributed each individual chapter (including Shih-Fu Chang, Ton Kalker, Heather Yu, and Yun-Q Shi) are all experts in multimedia security. Researchers and practitioners working in the field as well as scientists and engineers involved in designing and developing systems for protecting digital multimedia content will benefit from this handbook. The handbook is also a good textbook for graduate courses on multimedia security.


The handbook addresses various issues related to audio, image, and video protection. The collection presents state-of-the-art multimedia security technologies, including protection architectures, multimedia encryption, watermarking, fingerprinting and authentication techniques, and various typical applications.

Comprising 26 chapters, the handbook begins by introducing security fundamentals and discussing the vulnerabilities of individual protection schemes. Then, it focuses on multimedia encryption, detailing audio, image, and video encryption techniques. It further examines watermarking techniques, reviewing current and future trends and discussing multidimensional, fragile, and robust watermarks. It finally covers multimedia data hiding, fingerprinting, and authentication. The handbook ends with chapters describing some interesting applications of multimedia protection schemes, such as digital rights management for consumer devices.

Part by part

This handbook's 26 chapters are divided into five parts. Part I (Chapters 1–2) addresses the general issues and fundamental concepts in multimedia content protection. It presents an overview of the complex copyright-related problem of multimedia content protection and examines technical, legal, and business solutions for multimedia security in commonly used satellite, cable, terrestrial, and Internet-based architectures as well as digital home networks. It also discusses the vulnerability of various watermarking-based protection schemes, especially when the watermark detector is publicly available, and proposes a generic attack, which can remove the watermark with minimum distortion, and examines two common watermarking schemes (correlation and quantization).

Part II (Chapters 3–6), Multimedia Encryption, includes chapters on audio, image, and video encryption techniques and related issues such as key management. It covers many state-of-the-art encryption methods including the well-studied, fast, and secure conventional cryptosystem as well as a new chaos-based encryption scheme for multimedia applications. The authors also introduce some typical encryption techniques for protecting streaming media.

Part III (Chapters 7–16), Multimedia Watermarking, consists of chapters dealing with watermarking on various media including audio, image, and video. Beginning with an introduction to state-of-the-art watermarking approaches and the discussion on their future trends, this part presents various watermarking techniques including multidimensional, fragile, and robust watermarks. Those techniques are intended for different applications such as copyright protection and content-integrity protection. Because watermarking alone might not be able to satisfy copyright-protection requirements, it also describes an audio robust identification technique using watermarking and fingerprinting.

Part IV (Chapters 17–21), Multimedia Data Hiding, Fingerprinting, and Authentication, includes chapters on various issues related to these techniques. It comprises a complete description on lossless data hiding including its fundamentals, typical algorithms, and applications; an attack method on watermarking techniques based on blind pattern matching; an introduction to the modern digital media fingerprinting approaches (symmetric fingerprinting through intermediaries, symmetric fingerprinting via data embedding, and fingerprinting in a broadcast channel environment); and various multimedia authentication solutions (such as scalable and robust) based on digital signature.

Part V (Chapters 22–26), Applications, includes chapters that describe applications of multimedia protection schemes. This part covers an application-related taxonomy for multimedia protection, digital rights management for consumer devices and video, and model-based techniques for image filtering.

It's worth noting that, although the handbook aims primarily to introduce multimedia security fundamentals to interested researchers and engineers, its rich references at the end of each chapter could also benefit readers.

Further considerations

This handbook is a well-written and practical reference guide on multimedia security. Experienced researchers and engineers will find many shining points inside it.

This book does have some shortcomings, which are a drawback for beginners who might start their work on multimedia security with this handbook. For instance, its structure and organization could be further improved to avoid some duplication and overlapping chapters.

Overall, however, this is still a high-quality reference on multimedia security. I would recommend this book to undergraduate and graduate students who want to familiarize themselves with various topics in multimedia security and to experienced researchers and engineers as a handy reference book.

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