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Software Information Hiding Algorithm Based on Palette Icon of PE File

Zuwei Tian1,*, Hengfu Yang1, Zhichen Gao2

1 College of Information Science and Engineering, Hunan First Normal University, Changsha, 410205, China
2 Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, 11794-2300, USA

* Corresponding Author: Zuwei Tian. Email:

Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing 2022, 33(1), 133-142.


PE (Portable executable) file is a standard format for executable file and is applied extensively. PE file has diversity, uncertainty of file size, complexity of file structure and singleness of file format, which make PE file easy to be a carrier of information hiding, especially for that of large hiding capacity. A novel software information hiding algorithm is proposed, which makes full use of display characteristics of palette icon of portable executable file. In this algorithm, the information is embedded into the transparent area of the icon by taking advantage of the redundant color items in the palette. The experimental results show that after embedding the information, the size of the icon remains unchanged, that is, the size of the resource section will not change, and the size of the PE file will not change. On the other hand, the icon with embedded data can be correctly analyzed and displayed without any distortion. PE file can run normally, and does not affect the performance of the program, so the algorithm has good concealment. The algorithm selects an index value whose color is black according to rules in the XOR bitmap, these index values are encoded for information hiding, its complexity is low. At the same time, we can further improve the hiding capacity by adding one or more icons to PE file.


Cite This Article

Z. Tian, H. Yang and Z. Gao, "Software information hiding algorithm based on palette icon of pe file," Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, vol. 33, no.1, pp. 133–142, 2022.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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