Combatting ambiguity attacks via selective detection of embedded watermarks

Husrev Taha Sencar, Nasir Memon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on a problem that is common to most watermarking-based ownership dispute resolutions and ownership assertion systems. Such systems are vulnerable to a simple but effective class of attacks that exploit the high false-positive rate of the watermarking techniques to cast doubt on the reliability of a resulting decision. To mitigate this vulnerability, we propose embedding multiple watermarks, as opposed to embedding a single watermark, and detecting a randomly selected subset of them while constraining the embedding distortion. The crux of the scheme lies in both watermark generation, which deploys a family of one-way functions and selective detection, which injects uncertainty into the detection process. The potential of this approach in reducing the false-positive probability is analyzed under various operating conditions and compared to single watermark embedding. The multiple watermark embedding and selective detection technique is incorporated analytically into the additive watermarking technique and results obtained through numerical solutions are presented to illustrate its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-682
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Ambiguity attacks
  • Ownership assertion
  • Ownership dispute resolution
  • Watermarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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