A convolutional neural network-based linguistic steganalysis for synonym substitution steganography

Lingyun Xiang, Guoqing Guo, Jingming Yu, Victor S. Sheng, Peng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In this paper, a linguistic steganalysis method based on two-level cascaded convolutional neural networks (CNNs) is proposed to improve the system's ability to detect stego texts, which are generated via synonym substitutions. The first-level network, sentence-level CNN, consists of one convolutional layer with multiple convolutional kernels in different window sizes, one pooling layer to deal with variable sentence lengths, and one fully connected layer with dropout as well as a softmax output, such that two final steganographic features are obtained for each sentence. The unmodified and modified sentences, along with their words, are represented in the form of pre-trained dense word embeddings, which serve as the input of the network. Sentence-level CNN provides the representation of a sentence, and can thus be utilized to predict whether a sentence is unmodified or has been modified by synonym substitutions. In the second level, a text-level CNN exploits the predicted representations of sentences obtained from the sentence-level CNN to determine whether the detected text is a stego text or cover text. Experimental results indicate that the proposed sentence-level CNN can effectively extract sentence features for sentence-level steganalysis tasks and reaches an average accuracy of 82.245%. Moreover, the proposed steganalysis method achieves greatly improved detection performance when distinguishing stego texts from cover texts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1058
Number of pages18
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Convolutional neural network
  • Steganalysis
  • Steganography
  • Synonym substitution
  • Word embedding


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