The effect of image preprocessing techniques and varying JPEG quality on the identifiability of digital image splicing forgery

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Splicing of digital images is a powerful form of tampering which transports regions of an image to create a composite image. When used as an artistic tool, this practice is

Splicing of digital images is a powerful form of tampering which transports regions of an image to create a composite image. When used as an artistic tool, this practice is harmless but when these composite images can be used to create political associations or are submitted as evidence in the judicial system they become more impactful. In these cases, distinction between an authentic image and a tampered image can become important.

Many proposed approaches to image splicing detection follow the model of extracting features from an authentic and tampered dataset and then classifying them using machine learning with the goal of optimizing classification accuracy. This thesis approaches splicing detection from a slightly different perspective by choosing a modern splicing detection framework and examining a variety of preprocessing techniques along with their effect on classification accuracy. Preprocessing techniques explored include Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG) file type block line blurring, image level blurring, and image level sharpening. Attention is also paid to preprocessing images adaptively based on the amount of higher frequency content they contain.

This thesis also recognizes an identified problem with using a popular tampering evaluation dataset where a mismatch in the number of JPEG processing iterations between the authentic and tampered set creates an unfair statistical bias, leading to higher detection rates. Many modern approaches do not acknowledge this issue but this thesis applies a quality factor equalization technique to reduce this bias. Additionally, this thesis artificially inserts a mismatch in JPEG processing iterations by varying amounts to determine its effect on detection rates.