On reliability and security of randomized detectors against sensitivity analysis attacks

Maha El Choubassi, Pierre Moulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their popularity, spread spectrum schemes are vulnerable against sensitivity analysis attacks on standard deterministic watermark detectors. A possible defense is to use a randomized watermark detector. While randomization sacrifices some detection performance, it might be expected to improve detector security to some extent. This paper presents a framework to design randomized detectors with exponentially large randomization space and controllable loss in detection reliability. We also devise a general procedure to attack such detectors by reducing them into equivalent deterministic detectors. We conclude that, contrary to prior belief, randomization of the detector is not the ultimate answer for providing security against sensitivity analysis attacks in spread spectrum systems. Instead, the randomized detector inherits the weaknesses of the equivalent deterministic detector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4909041
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Chernoff bounds
  • Detection security
  • Error exponents
  • Generalized Gaussian distribution (GGD)
  • Maximum likelihood (ML)
  • Randomization
  • Security
  • Sensitivity attacks
  • Spread spectrum
  • Watermarking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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