- Research Article
- Open Access
A Speed-Adaptive Media Encryption Scheme for Real-Time Recording and Playback System
© Chen Xiao et al. 2010
Received: 29 March 2010
Accepted: 2 August 2010
Published: 17 August 2010
The recording and playback system (RPS) in video conference system needs to store mass of media data real-timely. Considering the security issue, media data should be encrypted before storing. Traditional full encryption and partial encryption algorithms are not applicable to RPS because they could not adjust their speed to meet the throughput variation of media data in real-time RPS. In this paper, a novel lightweight speed-adaptive media-data encryption (SAME) scheme is proposed firstly. Secondly, the SAME is improved to a packet-based algorithm according to the implementation of data storage in RPS system. Thirdly, an RPS oriented queue theory-based autoadaptive speed control mechanism for SAME is designed. Finally, these schemes are integrated into the practical system, that is, AdmireRPS, an RPS of a heterogeneous wireless network-(HWN-) oriented video conference system. Theoretical analysis and experimental results show the SAME is effective enough to support real-time applications. In addition, the proposed schemes also can be used in video surveillance and other video recording systems.
With the development of multimedia and network technologies, video conferences and some other streaming media systems have attracted significant research efforts [1–8]. Recording and playback system (RPS), which stores large-volume media data and plays them back according to requirements of users, plays an important role in a video conference system. Since the media data stored in RPS contain all the crucial information of the meetings, they should be encrypted properly. However, traditional full-encryption algorithms are not applicable due to the high-volume of media data and real-time requirements of multimedia applications . How to maintain the security of media data becomes a challenge task [1, 8, 9]. To solve this problem, a lot of multimedia (e.g., image, video, or audio) content encryption schemes have been proposed during the last decade. In this paper, more attention is paid on video encryption, since bandwidth of image or audio data is comparatively less than that of video. According to different viewpoints, those encryption schemes can be divided into different kinds, respectively. From the way they reduce the computational complexity, these schemes could be divided into three types, that is, partial encryption [10, 11], joint compression encryption , and improved full encryption .
Partial encryption encrypts a selected crucial subset of media data. One kind of partial encryption focuses on I-frames or intramacroblocks in video frames. The algorithm proposed in  encrypts only the I-frames in MPEG2. Although the other data are still clear, and might be eavesdropped by attackers, it is very hard to rebuild a clear video copy without the I-frames. However, the practical analysis given in  shows that without the I-frames video contents are still discernible, because the unencrypted I macroblocks in the P-frames can be fully decoded. So, it is not secure enough for some confidential applications . An improved scheme called SECMpeg is proposed in . It has implemented 4 levels of security. One important level is to encrypt all the I-blocks in P- and B-frames. This scheme can provide higher security but suffers a substantial increasing of complexity. Moreover, it needs the encryption process to parse the P- and B-frames, and is not suitable for RPS. Another kind of partial encryption focuses on discrete cosine transform (DCT) coefficients, motion vector, and other sensitive data. For example, Tang  encrypted videos by scrambling discrete cosine transform (DCT) coefficients. Shi and Bhargava  proposed a video encryption algorithm, where the 64 most significant sign bits of DCT coefficients and motion vectors in each macroblock are encrypted by a symmetric cipher. In some other schemes [18, 19], intraprediction mode, residue data, and motion vector are encrypted partially to keep format compliance. The third kind of algorithms use some lightweight algorithms to encrypt the sensitive data, for example, in image encryption, Lian et al.  used chaotic cipher to encrypt JPEG2000 images. With regard to audio encryption, several partial encryption schemes are also proposed [1, 11].
Joint compression encryption is another kind of media content encryption. Wu and Kuo  implemented encryption operations in entropy coding. In , the scheme combined fixed length code (FLC) and variable length code (VLC) codeword, which is achieved by permuting the codeword and encrypting the index of code table in MPEG-4. In , a perceptual video encryption scheme is proposed based on exploiting the special feature of entropy coding in H.264.
Improved full-encryption schemes use some lightweight algorithms to encrypt the whole bit stream. In [1, 20, 24], chaotic stream ciphers are constructed and used to encrypt video data. Besides chaotic stream ciphers, VEA scheme is another improved full-encryption scheme . The main idea of VEA is as follows. Divide the plaintext into two segments: Even and Odd, encrypt the Odd with a standard encryption algorithm E(Odd), and the other half Even is exclusive-ORed (Xor) with the plaintext of Odd. This mechanism can reduce the complexity to nearly one half and achieve a sufficient security level. This algorithm is extended to encrypt one fourth of the plaintext in . These schemes can encrypt the compressed video data, and fit the RPS. But their encryption rate is changeless, so the encryption throughput of them could not adjust to meet the variation of media data throughput in real-time RPS.
On the other hand, according to the data format or application they oriented, these encryption schemes can be classified into two types, that is, one is all-purpose scheme, and the other focuses on special codec standards or applications. As mentioned above, the schemes in [10, 15] select the I-frames or I-blocks to encrypt, and the ones in [16–19, 26] choose the DCT coefficients and sign bits of the motion vectors to encrypt. These schemes can be used in different codec standards. The other kind of scheme focuses on the special image, audio, and video standards. For example, the schemes in [20, 27] aim at encrypting the image of JPEG2000, the one in  aims at G.729 data encryption, and the ones in [18, 19] study the AVC encryption. There are also some schemes focusing on special applications, for example, joint fingerprint embedding and en/decryption algorithms are proposed and used in digital rights management (DRM) [3, 28]. The security of multimedia content in IPTV is studied in [4, 5]. Chen et al.  proposed a mathematical model-based dynamic optimal selective control mechanism for optimizing the security of multidatastreams in video conference. These schemes are designed based on the special needs of applications.
Among the mentioned algorithms above, joint compression encryption needs to analyze the compressed data, which is infeasible for practical RPS systems. Partial encryption and improved full-encryption algorithms have also some limitations, because they could not adjust their speed to meet the variation of media data throughput of RPS. Therefore, in this paper, we design a secure real-time recording and playback system, named AdmireRPS, based on a novel Speed-Adaptive Media-Data Encryption (SAME). As of our knowledge, this is the first media encryption scheme considering the adaptive media throughput. Firstly, by combining the block cipher and stream cipher, a lightweight speed-adaptive media-data encryption is proposed. Secondly, a packet-based SAME (PSAME) is proposed, according to the implementation of data storage in a practical RPS system. Thirdly, a queue theory based autoadaptive speed control mechanism for SAME is designed. Finally, those schemes are integrated into AdmireRPS system. Theoretical and experimental analyses show the performance of SAME is effective enough to support real-time applications.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the overview of AdmireRPS system and its security problems. The design and implement of AdmireRPS are given in Section 3. The speed-adaptive media-data encryption (SAME) and autoadaptive speed control mechanism for SAME are presented in Section 4, and Section 5 discusses the performances and presents the theoretical analysis and experimental results. Finally, Section 6 concludes the paper.
2. Admire and Encryption Bottleneck
2.1. An Overview of Admire System
2.2. Encryption Bottleneck in Admire System
To meet the application demands of some confidential departments, a special edition with security concern is developed, in which data encryption is operated by a specified confidential encryption algorithm which is similar to DES and implemented in a PCI card . Although the card has a declaratory encryption throughput of 224 Mbps, we find its stable external throughput is only 12 Mbps in fact . We also find that the software implementation of traditional encryption algorithm on universal processor is no more than 200 Mbps, which is inadequate to the data throughput of MediaGateway , RPServer, and other servers. Consequently, the encryption becomes a bottleneck in the system.
The encryption speed can be accelerated according to the growth of the CPU speed, but in the recent years the improvement of CPU speed decelerates because of the limit of manufacturing technology of semiconductor device, so the perspective of the growth of encryption speed is not optimistic. Comparatively, the disk densities improved 100 percent per year, which is faster than Moore's Law, something like 60 percent a year . Moreover, core network bandwidth and image process ability growing even faster than disk densities. Predicatively, the dissymmetry between the throughput of encryption algorithm and the data volume to be encrypted will aggravate. Furthermore, there is a remarkable variation of media data throughput in Admire system, so a speed adaptive encryption scheme is needed.
3. The Proposed AdmireRPS
3.1. AdmireRPS in Admire System
AdmireRPS is the secure recording and playback system of Admire system. It can encrypt and save the specified streaming media data into media files according to the requirements of the participants. When a user misses a meeting, RPS can playback the audio/video for her/him, and asynchronous collaboration could be achieved.
Figure 2 shows the architecture of AdmireRPS. On the left of the box with broken lines are RPS clients, in the box are the servers, including RPServer which records and playbacks media data, ControlServer  which works as the GateKeeper (GK) and ControlUnit (CU) of H.323 system, and AdmireDB which saves the session and access control information. All these components exchange control message using AdmireMBus , a lightweight message bus which is fully encrypted. Media data are transmitted in media channel, which is built based on multicast or application layer multicast . The details of the secure recording and playback process will be presented in the following content.
3.2. Media Data Recording and Encryption
The media data record process in AdmireRPS is shown in Figure 2, which includes the following 3 steps. Firstly, the client sends the record request to ControlServer via the secure control channel. Then, ControlServer inserts the media information, including session information, multicast address of the session, Synchronization SouRCe (SSRC) identifier, and so forth, into AdmireDB. Finally, ControlServer asks RPServer to record media data in the specified multicast address (the client can also require RPS to record data with specified SSRC in a multicast address).
The data in one session could be saved into a single file or several files according to SSRC. However, we found stable throughput of hard disk is correlate inversely with the number of files accessed at one time, thus single-file scheme could achieve a higher performance. On the other hand, multifile scheme can playback media data with selected SSRCs in one session separately. This scheme can achieve higher flexibility. Client has the right to choose either of single or multifile in record request.
3.3. The Secure Playback Process
Similar with the record process, playback process in AdmireRPS works as follows. Firstly, Client sends media file inquiry request to ControlServer via the encrypted control channel. Secondly, ControlServer inquires the media file information from AdmireDB, and sends it to Client. Thirdly, Client selects the media file her/she wants. Fourthly, ControlServer asks RPServer to playback the specified media file in a negotiated multicast address. Fifthly, RPServer reads packets are from the media file and sends them to the negotiated multicast address, according to the time stamp. RPServer can send the encrypted packets or plaintext packets. When the packets sent in ciphertext, a session key will be sent via the encrypted control channel simultaneously.
4. Speed-Adaptive Media-Data Encryption (SAME)
Statistical characteristics of compressed audio/video data are dramatically different from the ones of text data, because the variable-length codes and other processes used in compression remove the redundant information from the original data. Statistical analysis in  shows that the coded data have high randomness at the byte level. Based on this statistical characteristic of media data, we extend the idea of VEA algorithm to a new method that uses traditional block cipher to encrypt a part of data (part I), and uses its plaintext as the stream cipher key to encrypt another part of data (part II). By changing the ratio between parts I and II, we can adjust the speed of the encryption algorithm.
4.1. The Basic SAME Algorithm
This algorithm is designed for media file rather than real-time packets in RPS. The improved algorithm for packets is proposed in Section 4.2. To avoid the file header being guessed by the attackers, the first n-segments are full encrypted in step ( ), where is calculated from the session key. Although the probability of a segment being got by attackers is very little, the permutation proposed in  could be used before the dividing in step ( ). The encryption speed control parameter in step ( ) is given in Section 4.3. This important parameter can adjust the speed of the encryption algorithm, and the experimental result is shown in Section 5.2. For file encryption, this parameter should be properly saved either by saving in a separate file, or using 1 bit in the header of each segment as encryption flag EF. The decryption process can determine the decryption way according to EF.
4.2. Improved Algorithm for RTP Packets
The former algorithm, which is designed for byte stream, is suitable for encrypting large-volume media file. Since both recording and playback processes in AdmireRPS work on RTP packets, a packet-based algorithm can achieve higher efficiency. Therefore, we design a packet-based improved algorithm shown as follows.
4.3. Adaptive-Speed Control Mechanism
In this subsection a speed control mechanism is designed to determine the encryption speed control parameter l in SAME, while the input throughput and upper limit of the expected queuing delay is given.
A FIFO queue is used in RPServer to buffer the input data (as is shown in Figure 4). The new packets are inserted to its rear, while the encryption process gets packets from the front. Since the volume of media data in video conference change dramatically, speed control mechanism should ensure that the queuing delay is stable and under control, while take full advantage of encryption recourse.
5. Performance Analyses
5.1. Theoretical Security Analysis Based on Shannon Theory
However, statistical analysis of compressed video stream shows that the data have high randomness at the byte level, moreover the permutation before data dividing can also reduce the relativity. Thus, the security is often not smaller than the first segment's encryption.
That is, the security depends only on the first segment's encryption.
5.2. Throughput Analyses on SAME
Owing to the limited scale of our Admire system, we study the throughput of SAME in simulation programs. As is shown in Figures 9(a) and 9(b), two tests, that is, Test A and Test B, are designed to evaluate the throughputs of SAME with DES similar algorithm in PCI card and DES implementation in software, respectively. These two simulation programs are implemented in C++, and each of them occupies only one processor each time. Test A runs in a Windows XP system with Intel Core Duo T2300 1.66 GHz and 512 M RAM, and Test B runs in a Windows NT workstation with dual-processor Intel PIV 2.4 G and 512 M RAM. When the parameter is 1, 4, 16, 64, 256, 1024, 4096 , the throughputs of SAME in Test A and Test B are 1.45, 2.774, 5.796, 23.12, 90.03, 334.1, 989.1, 1973 and 21.91, 41.4, 86.12, 314.9, 959.5, 1935, 2607, 2843 , respectively.
The results of SAME are compared with the original full-encryption algorithm and VEA. When , the SAME algorithm is equal to full encryption, and when , the SAME is equal to VEA. Experimental results also show that when is small, the speed nearly increases linearly. When is very large (e.g., ), limited by the speed of stream cipher algorithm, the throughputs are both less than 3 GBps for the two cases.
Throughputs of SAME with different CPU loads (measured in MBps).
Algorithm in PCI
In Admire RPServer, only the SAME encryption process is CPU intensive, other process like RTP parsing and file saving are either I/O intensive or not CPU intensive. Therefore, the SAME is effective enough for the high-volume real-time data in AdmireRPS.
6. Conclusions and Future Work
In this paper, a security scheme for RPS system is designed and implemented, which is based on the speed-adaptive media-data encryption (SAME) algorithm. Firstly, combining the block cipher and stream cipher algorithm, the basic SAME algorithm is proposed. Secondly, a packet-based SAME is proposed according to the implementation of data storage in AdmireRPS system. Thirdly, a queue theory based autoadaptive speed control mechanism for SAME is designed. Finally, the packet-based SAME algorithm and the speed control mechanism are integrated into AdmireRPS system. Theoretical analysis and experimental results show the security and speed of SAME are suitable for real-time applications. Furthermore, the proposed schemes can also be used in video surveillance and other video recording systems.
The basic SAME algorithm
Do until the last segment:
( ) For the last segment, fill it using the filling method shown in Figure 7, then encrypt it using F.
The decryption process
If (EF = full encrypt) then
The improved encryption algorithm
Do until the end:
(6) Full encrypted the last packet,
This work was supported by the Major State Basic Research Development Program of China (973 Program) (Grant no. 2005CB321902) and Project (no. SKLSDE-2010ZX-06) of the State Key Laboratory of Software Development Environment.
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