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A New Method for Image Tamper Detection Based on an Improved U-Net

Jie Zhang, Jianxun Zhang*, Bowen Li, Jie Cao, Yifan Guo

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chongqing University of Technology, Chongqing, 40005, China

* Corresponding Author: Jianxun Zhang. Email: email

(This article belongs to the Special Issue: Artificial Intelligence Algorithm for Industrial Operation Application)

Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing 2023, 37(3), 2883-2895. https://doi.org/10.32604/iasc.2023.039805

Abstract

With the improvement of image editing technology, the threshold of image tampering technology decreases, which leads to a decrease in the authenticity of image content. This has also driven research on image forgery detection techniques. In this paper, a U-Net with multiple sensory field feature extraction (MSCU-Net) for image forgery detection is proposed. The proposed MSCU-Net is an end-to-end image essential attribute segmentation network that can perform image forgery detection without any pre-processing or post-processing. MSCU-Net replaces the single-scale convolution module in the original network with an improved multiple perceptual field convolution module so that the decoder can synthesize the features of different perceptual fields use residual propagation and residual feedback to recall the input feature information and consolidate the input feature information to make the difference in image attributes between the untampered and tampered regions more obvious, and introduce the channel coordinate confusion attention mechanism (CCCA) in skip-connection to further improve the segmentation accuracy of the network. In this paper, extensive experiments are conducted on various mainstream datasets, and the results verify the effectiveness of the proposed method, which outperforms the state-of-the-art image forgery detection methods.

Keywords


1  Introduction

The ever-evolving image processing technology and powerful image processing software are heavily integrated into our lives. Even users without professional image processing knowledge can very easily tamper with the image content, resulting in a reduction in the authenticity of the image content. There are three types of common image processing techniques, as shown in Fig. 1.

images

Figure 1: Examples of common forged image types (tampered areas are in red boxes)

(1)   Splicing: A splicing method that copies areas from one image and pastes them into other images.

(2)   Copy-move: A method of copying certain areas of an image and moving them to cover other areas.

(3)   Remove: A method to remove some regions from an image.

The current forgery detection methods mainly identify the differences in image properties between the tampered and untampered regions of an image such as differences in lighting, shadows, sensor noise, and camera reflections.

Traditional tampering detection algorithms for clipping combinations are mainly based on the differences in attributes between tampered and non-tampered regions in images, and detection algorithms based on these attribute differences can be broadly classified into four categories:

(1) Detection methods based on the essential image attributes [13].

(2) Detection methods based on imaging device attributes [46].

(3) Detection method based on image compression attributes [711].

(4) Image hash-based detection methods [12,13].

These methods are used to obtain these attributes. A failed detection occurs when these attributes are not apparent or do not exist. Furthermore, postprocessing operations such as image blurring, JPEG compression, and subsampling can affect specific image attributes, reducing the detection efficiency of traditional detection methods.

To date, deep learning has led technological advances in areas such as computer vision. In this process, deep learning techniques have also been gradually introduced in the localization of image falsification. Liu [14] proposed a stitching tampering pixel-level localization framework based on full convolutional networks and conditional random fields that can easily overfit overfitting due to the limitation of the dataset. Bi et al. [15] proposed a circular residual U-net network to enhance the learning abilities of CNNs.

With [1618] being subsequently proposed, pixel-level localization for stitching, copy-paste and image removal tampering is achieved. However, the current CNN-based feature extraction detection methods suffer from the loss of contextual information, gradient degradation of deeper networks, and single extracted features. In summary, to address the problems of existing CNN-dwelling detection methods, a multiple sensory field-scale feature extraction and channel coordinate confusion U-Net (MSCU-Net) is proposed in this paper to solve these problems. Our main contributions are as follows.

We use the multiple perceptual field feature extraction module instead of the single convolution module in the traditional U-Net, enabling the model to extract more features and have a larger perceptual field.

Moreover, we introduce channel coordinates to confuse the attention mechanism in the skip-connection of the model to enhance the spatial information encoded by the CNN.

2  Related Work

Deep learning methods based on data-driven approaches have shown excellent performance on many computer vision and image processing tasks. Thus, many researchers have also applied deep learning to image tampering detection, and a few of the more popular directions are improving the detection accuracy by improving network structures, network models based on the correlation design of imaging devices, etc.

The U-Net network is essentially a convolutional neural network that was proposed by Ronneberger et al. [19] in 2015 and is widely used in medical fields.

It is widely used in the field of medical image processing and has improved both the detection rate and detection accuracy compared to the traditional neural structure segmentation algorithm.

U-Net uses successive convolutional layers and maximum pooling layers to obtain the contextual feature information in images uses a series of upsampling layers to interpolate and amplify the obtained feature information to obtain a high-resolution feature map, and finally uses the lateral propagation of features between layers to reduce the loss of feature details and accurately locate the tampered region. However, since the identifiable features between tampered and non-tampered regions in the image are more hidden and weak, these identifiable features will have gradient disappearance when the network structure is deeper. To solve this problem, He et al. proposed ResNet [20] in 2015. The principle is that by adding a constant mapping to the shallow network and directly skipping the intermediate layer to transfer to the later network layers, the input of a segment of the neural network is superimposed on its output as the input of the lower network through a shortcut connection, and the output y(x)=F(x)+x converts the learning target from F(x) to F(x)+x, which can ensure a deeper depth. It simplifies the network training and enhances the learning methods of CNNs.

Hu et al. [21] developed the first attention module used in computer vision and proposed the squeeze-and-excitation module (SE), which extracts both spatial and channel information of the feature map and is widely used in various tasks in the field of vision. Woo et al. [22] proposed the convolutional block attention module (CBAM) module, which is based on the SE module. Zhang et al. [23] proposed SA-Net to fuse the output feature maps at each scale with reference to the top-down characteristics of the human visual system. However, since tampering detection task features are difficult to identify, the channel coordinate confusion attention (CCCA) module is proposed in this paper to enhance the feature extraction capability of the network.

3  Multisensory Field and Channel Coordinate Obfuscation U-Net

3.1 Multiscale Feature Extraction U-Net Network

The multiscale feature extraction module solves the problem of traditional networks extracting single features, and the propagation of cyclic residuals both solves the problem of gradient degradation and amplifies the differences in image attributes between untampered and tampered regions. The CCCA attention mechanism enhances the spatial coordinate information of encoding, enhances meaningful features, and suppresses useless features. In summary, the cyclic multiscale feature extraction structure extracts features between the layers of the network while ensuring a more obvious discrimination of the essential image attribute features, which can achieve better and more detection performance compared with traditional feature extraction-based detection methods and existing CNN-based detection methods. The network architecture of MSCU-net is shown in Fig. 2.

images

Figure 2: The multisensory field and channel coordinate confused U-Net (the number in the box indicates the number of feature map channels)

3.2 Multisensory Field Feature Extraction Module

The U-Net network sends the feature maps with much detail in the shallow network to the corresponding decoders to assist in segmentation by adding a jump connection between the encoder and decoder. However, the decoders uniformly use the single-scale convolution module for the merged feature maps. The single-scale convolution module uses only fixed-size convolution kernels, which makes it difficult to make full use of the information at different scales in the merged feature maps. In this paper, we propose an improved feature extraction module with multiple sensory fields. As shown in Fig. 3, the single-scale convolution module in the decoder is replaced by the improved multiscale module, which enables the decoder to utilize the feature information of different receptive fields in a comprehensive manner and further improve the segmentation accuracy of the network. The improved multiscale convolution module is divided into two parts: multiscale and feature fusion. The multiscale part consists of a series of convolutional layers of different scales, through which the feature information of different sensory fields in the feature map is extracted, and the 1 * 1 convolution is introduced in front of the multiscale convolutional layer to downscale the input feature map with reference to the Inception structure [24], which can ensure the feature extraction effect and at the same time effectively reduce the computation of the whole module and further improve the generalization ability of the model by introducing more nonlinearities. The feature fusion part uses a 3 * 3 convolution to fuse and downscale the output feature information of the multiscale part, which further reduces the computational effort of the model while extracting more features of the tampered region without affecting the model effect.

images

Figure 3: Multi-sensory field feature extraction module (MFE)

3.3 The Ringed Residual Module

To solve the vanishing gradient problem, we introduce the structure of cyclic residuals.

A cyclic residual module is shown in Fig. 4, which is subdivided into residual propagation and residual feedback, with the output of residual propagation defined as

images

Figure 4: The ringed residual MFE (RRMFE)

yf=F(x,{Wi})+Wsx(1)

where x and y are the inputs and outputs of the module, Wi denotes the weights of the i. th layer, and the function F(x,{Wi}) denotes the residual mapping to be learned.

Residual feedback, through sigmoid activation response values superimposed on the input information to amplify the difference in the essential properties of the image between the untampered and tampered regions, is defined by Eq. (2).

yb=(s(G(yf))+1)x(2)

where x is the input, yf is the equation, and yb is the augmented input. The function G is a linear mapping for changing the size of yf. The function s is the sigmoid activation function. Residual feedback is analogous to the human need to repeat what has been learned and learning new knowledge in the process of constant repetition. Residual feedback can amplify the differences between image attributes. The structure of the circular residuals is shown in Fig. 4.

3.4 Channel Coordinates Confuse Attention

We propose channel coordinates confuse attention (CCCA) based on Spatial-Channel Squeeze & Excitation (scSE) [25]. CCCA consists of three channels that obtain the information of feature maps in spatial coordinates.

The input feature map of U^cSE is U=[u1,u2,uc], where each channel uiRWh, U is globally averaged to obtain the vector zR11c. Moreover, the k values at each position are

zk=1H×WiHjWuk(i,j)(3)

The obtained vector passes through two fully connected layers.

Z^=W1(δ(W2z))(4)

where W1 and W2 are the weights of the fully connected layer. Afterward, after ReLU is performed, this process enhances the independence between each channel. For Z^ obtained after the sigmoid layer and normalized to between 0 and 1 to obtain σ(Z^), the whole calculation process can be expressed by the following equation:

U^eCA performs a global average pooling operation on the input feature map, performs a 1-dimensional convolution operation with a convolution kernel size of k, and obtains the weights w of each channel after the sigmoid activation function. The computation procedure is shown below:

U^eCA=[σ(q1,1)u1,1,,σ(qi,j)ui,j,σ(qH,W)uH,W](5)

Then, the weights are multiplied with the corresponding elements of the original input feature map to obtain the final output feature map.

U^cA encodes the channel relationships and long-range dependencies by means of accurate location information. For the input X, each channel is first encoded along the horizontal and vertical coordinate directions using pooling kernels of dimensions (H,1) and (1,W), and the captured location information is fully utilized to precisely locate the region of interest. The whole computational process can be expressed by the following equation:

yc(i,j)=xc(i,j)×gch(i)×gcw(j)(6)

CCCA is the combination of the above three, as shown in Fig. 5. By introducing the CCCA attention mechanism in skip-connection to enhance meaningful features and suppress useless features, the difference between tampered regions and untampered image attributes is amplified.

images

Figure 5: Channel coordinate confusion attention (CCCA). By adding U^eCA and U^cSE to obtain a more precisely calibrated spatial feature map, U^cA enables the network to focus on a large range of location information

4  Experiments

To evaluate the performance of the proposed MSCU-Net, various experiments have been conducted to determine the effectiveness and robustness. Additionally, the method is compared with several other image forgery detection methods in different situations.

Experimental Dataset: We selected three public datasets, CASIA [26], NIST16 [27] and Columbia [5], for testing.

On CASIA, the witty vintage set contains images with the three tampering means of copy-shift, stitching, and removal.

On NIST16, the dataset provides images with three tampering means copy-shift, splice, and removal.

Columbia provides images of the stitching tampering means.

For the NIST2016 image dataset, there are two main subsets: training (404) and testing. Then, these subsets are randomly selected.

For the CASIA image library, 5123 images from CASIA v2.0 were selected for training, 921 images from CASIA v1.0 were used for testing, and the entire Columbia dataset was used for testing. The division details are shown in Table 1. To better train MSCU-Net, the image size was uniformly processed to 384 * 256.

images

Evaluation Metrics: The evaluation metrics referred to in the comparison experiment section of this paper are Precision, Recall, and F-measure, and the evaluation metrics are the number of correctly detected tampered pixels (TP), the number of incorrectly detected tampered pixels (FP) and the number of incorrectly detected untampered pixels (FN). Among them, the accuracy rate is calculated as shown in Eq. (7), the recall rate is calculated as shown in Eq. (8), and the F-measure is calculated as shown in Eq. (9).

Precision=TPTP+FP(7)

Recall=TPTP+FN(8)

Fmeasure=2×Precision×RecallPrecision+Recall(9)

Compare detection methods: To evaluate the practical effectiveness of the algorithms proposed in this paper, the following models are selected for comparison.

The C2R-Net [28] algorithm can locate the tampered content in the image, but there are still a small number of false detections and more missed detections.

RGB-N [16] which is a two-stream Faster R-CNN network, is proposed and trained end-to-end to detect tampered regions of a given image.

SPAN [18] utilizes a pyramid architecture and models the dependency of image patches through self-attentive blocks.

RRU-Net [15] reinforces the CNN learning approach to amplify the difference between tampered and untampered regions.

Table 2 shows the average values of precision, recall, and F1 for the detection results of the proposed algorithm and the five compared algorithms on three publicly available datasets. From Table 2, it can be seen that the detection results of the proposed algorithm in this paper are better than the other five comparison algorithms in terms of precision and F1. However, the precision and recall on the CASIA dataset and Columbia dataset are slightly lower than those of the RRU-Net algorithm. The F-measure score metrics implemented on both image libraries indicate that the method in this paper achieves relatively high tampering localization results. In addition, images of the results of image tampering localization are provided. The test result picture displayed in Fig. 6 illustrates that our model delivers a better segmentation effect, as it can be observed.

images

images

Figure 6: Visualization of our prediction results, showing the forged images, GT, RGB-N prediction results, SPAN prediction results and our prediction results from top to bottom. From the figure, our network model has better results in the details of segmentation

Ablation Experiments: To verify the effectiveness of the CCCA and RRMFE modules, we perform ablation experiments on the NIST16 dataset, as shown in Table 3. The terms in bold font indicate the optimal performance value, √ indicates that the experimental model contains the corresponding module, and × indicates that the experimental model does not contain the corresponding module. As shown in the second row of the table, after directly fusing the spatial location coordinate information of the images, the experimental results are improved by 0.013 for precision, 0.003 for recall, and 0.067 for F-measure compared with the original network. To further amplify the attribute differences between tampered and untampered regions, the RRMFE module for different scales and different perceptual fields of feature fusion are proposed in this paper. The experimental results show that the F-measure and precision performance are optimal with the feature fusion of CCCA+RRMFE.

images

Robustness experiments: In real scenarios, tampered images mostly undergo various types of postprocessing operations, such as network transmission compression and noise. Therefore, a tamper detection and localization framework that is robust against postprocessing operations is particularly important. In this paper, we design robustness experiments for 2 types of postprocessing operations. The specific types and parameters are shown in Table 4. The experimental results of MSCU-Net are smooth and robust under the postprocessing operations of each parameter, and the experimental results are shown in Figs. 7 and 8.

images

images

Figure 7: F-measure after adding Gaussian noise

images

Figure 8: F-measure value after JPEG compression

Experimental details: The MSCU-Net detection method was run on a computer with an Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-10400F CPU and an NVIDIA A6000 GPU. In the training process of MSCU-Net, we use the cross-entropy loss function [29] and group normalization (GN) [30] to normalize the scattered data in high-dimensional space. We use random values for the initial parameters and stochastic gradient descent with a batch size of 10 samples, a momentum of 0.9, a weight decay of 0.0005, and an initial learning rate of 0.01.

5  Conclusion

In this paper, an image tampering detection algorithm based on U-shaped detection network is proposed. First, the suspected tampered regions in the image are detected using the U-shaped detection network. Then, to further optimize the detection results of the fine U-shaped network, the final detection results are obtained using the multi-feature extraction module and the coordinate channel confusion attention mechanism. To evaluate the effectiveness and practicality of the proposed algorithm in this paper, current deep learning-based detection algorithms are experimentally compared and experimentally visualized simultaneously on the tampering standard dataset, showing that the model pair in this paper has better detection and localization performance. In the task of tampering detection, it is important to extract image information at multiple scales, which can improve the detection ability of the model to a certain extent for targets in various sizes of regions and to facilitate the expression of image tampering features using attention modules. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm in this paper outperforms several other comparative algorithms in detection.

Acknowledgement: The authors extend their appreciation to the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Funding Statement: This work is supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 61971078) and Chongqing University of Technology Graduate Innovation Foundation (Grant Number gzlcx20222064).

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to report regarding the present study.

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Cite This Article

APA Style
Zhang, J., Zhang, J., Li, B., Cao, J., Guo, Y. (2023). A new method for image tamper detection based on an improved u-net. Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, 37(3), 2883-2895. https://doi.org/10.32604/iasc.2023.039805
Vancouver Style
Zhang J, Zhang J, Li B, Cao J, Guo Y. A new method for image tamper detection based on an improved u-net. Intell Automat Soft Comput . 2023;37(3):2883-2895 https://doi.org/10.32604/iasc.2023.039805
IEEE Style
J. Zhang, J. Zhang, B. Li, J. Cao, and Y. Guo "A New Method for Image Tamper Detection Based on an Improved U-Net," Intell. Automat. Soft Comput. , vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 2883-2895. 2023. https://doi.org/10.32604/iasc.2023.039805


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