Abstract: During the recent times, there has been tremendous growth in transfer of data across the globe which ultimately has boosted data communication over the computer networks. For any data communication network, the information content security of the messages is of prime concern. Steganography and Cryptography are two different data hiding techniques. Steganography puts a cover onto the messages by some other form of digital media whereas Cryptography on the other hand performs the encryption of the message. In this paper, we present a combination of both these techniques wherein the text is first hidden into some form of cover image using Least significant bit (LSB) hiding method and then encryption using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is performed on to the stego image. The combination of both these algorithm will certainly ensure high degree of security, integrity, capacity and robustness to the embedded data. Using GUI based MATLAB simulation, a comparative analysis is being made by employing different formats of the images for learning variations in performance evaluation parameters such as delay, Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR), Mean Square Error (MSE), and Absolute Mean Square Error (AMSE). The objectives of this paper are to provide security against visual as well as statistical attacks and to ensure better quality of received information.

Keywords: Steganography, Cryptography, LSB hiding, AES encryption standard, Human Visual System (HVS), PSNR, MSE, AMSE.