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Radical change was needed to provide appropriate security and performance to users. The new access-anywhere unified network uses zero-trust security policies that protect sensitive government information while giving employees easy access to business-critical applications and files.
Because a DNA nucleotide sequence has the characteristics of large storage capacity, high parallelism, and low energy consumption, DNA cryptography is favored by information security researchers. Image encryption algorithms based on DNA coding have become a research hotspot in the field of image encryption and security. In this study, based on a comprehensive review of the existing studies and their results, we present new insights into the existing image encryption algorithms based on DNA coding. First, the existing algorithms were summarized and classified into five types, depending on the type of DNA coding: DNA fixed coding, DNA dynamic coding, different types of base complement operation, different DNA sequence algebraic operations, and combinations of multiple DNA operations. Second, we analyzed and studied each classification algorithm using simulation and obtained their advantages and disadvantages. Third, the DNA coding mechanisms, DNA algebraic operations, and DNA algebraic combination operations were compared and discussed. Then, a new scheme was proposed by combining the optimal coding mechanism with the optimal DNA coding operation. Finally, we revealed the shortcomings of the existing studies and the future direction for improving image encryption methods based on DNA coding.
For these reasons, dynamic DNA coding and more complex DNA coding algorithms have been proposed in recent years. Kalpana , Zhang , Zhen , Cai , Rehman , and many others proposed various dynamic DNA coding algorithms. They first defined different DNA coding rules, and used chaotic sequences to select DNA coding rules dynamically to encode images. Further, [39, 43, 44] proposed replacing the conventional single-base complement operation with a complement operation based on the principle of base complementation, to increase the complexity of DNA operation. These encryption algorithms achieved better encryption results. Belazi  proposed a novel medical image encryption scheme based on chaos and DNA encoding, and realized two encryption rounds using different coding rules and complement, and XOR operation under chaotic control. This method achieves good encryption, and could resist all types of attacks. Furthermore, a new image encryption scheme based on CML and DNA sequences was proposed by Wang , which also performs good encryption. Nevertheless, because fixed DNA coding was selected in their coding process, and the security could be improved. Dagadu  proposed a medical image encryption scheme based on multiple chaos and DNA coding, different DNA coding rules, and XOR operation combined with chaotic map to realize image encryption. Although the scrambling degree in their method was high, it could not resist CPA and KPA.
Therefore, the following conclusions can be drawn: fixed DNA coding rules are simple to implement, have high computational efficiency, and one can even disturb a pixel value by selecting decoding rules that are different from the encoding rules. However, because there are only eight coding combinations, effective results are obtained only for four kinds. Further, the encryption is poor, ability to resist exhaustion is poor, bit distribution of the bases is not uniform, and the degree of scrambling is low. Therefore, it is difficult to encrypt an image, especially a single-pixel image such as a medical image. To our knowledge, most existing image encryption algorithms based on DNA coding adopt fixed coding; therefore, their security is apparently under threat.
In dynamic DNA coding of images, the DNA sequence is obtained using different rules (the eight rules listed in Table 1) to encode each row, each column, each pixel, or each binary bit of the whole image. Selecting encoding patterns for different encoding objects randomly makes the coding system more complex, renders decoding more difficult, and enhances the image encryption security.
Section 3 indicates that the existing methods have some shortcomings. First, the existing DNA coding mechanisms are fragile. Although DNA coding is a crucial step in encryption, most of the existing coding methods use fixed coding. Section 3.1 proved that fixed coding yields poor encryption performance, has poor resistance to exhaustive attacks, and has non-uniform distribution of bases. Although some studies have used dynamic coding, most of them are row-by-row (image block) or pixel-by-pixel dynamic coding. These two methods are not as secure as dynamic coding by binary bit. Second, improper application of the DNA sequence addition operation, resulting in irreversibility of the image encryption method. The inverse operation of DNA sequence addition is the DNA sequence subtraction operation. Therefore, if addition is performed between the pixels of an original image, the DNA subtraction operation cannot be performed, and it would be difficult to decrypt an encrypted image. Third, the security of the DNA complement operations is poor. In recent years, various studies have widely used the method of DNA complement to diffuse the pixel values. However, most of them used the direct base complement or static regular base complement method. Section 3.3 showed that the static regular base complement method comprises three different encryption forms. Except for the fourth and the sixth rule, the information entropy of the other static regular complement methods is low, and the direct base complement method exhibits poor encryption performance. Fourth, because the combinatorial DNA operations are selected arbitrarily, image encryption based on combinations of multiple DNA operations is not highly secure. Fifth, the diffusion capacity of DNA bases is poor. Most studies only use the relevant theory of DNA coding to encrypt images and ignore the diffusion of bases, making their methods vulnerable to CPA and KPA. Sixth, the existing methods use chaotic systems combined with DNA coding to achieve image encryption, whose security (i.e., key space, key sensitivity, and degree of image scrambling) thus depends on the security of the chaotic system. Furthermore, parallelism and high storage of DNA computing were not applied to these image encryption methods.
We propose the following improvements to alleviate the above shortcomings. The first suggestion is related to using the DNA dynamic coding mechanism to transform an original image into a DNA sequence matrix, for which dynamic coding by binary bit can be preferred. Table 5 shows that the information entropy of dynamic coding by binary bit reaches 7.9976, and its base distribution is very uniform, which are beneficial as good factors to the successfully begin the encryption process. Second, the DNA addition operation can be replaced with DNA XOR operation to perform image encryption. Table 3 indicates that the DNA XOR operation is very similar to the addition operation. Its main advantage is that it is reversible, and makes the algorithm simple. By comparing the relevant data, we can solve the problem of irreversible addition, and also obtain good encryption performance. Third, selecting the dynamic regular base complement method to improve the diffusion capacity of pixels is preferable. Fourth, choose a reasonable and effective DNA combination operation to change the pixel values of images based on Table 10. Fifth, use the information related to plaintext as a part of encryption key, such as combining the hamming distance of the DNA sequence from the plaintext image with the encryption key (chaotic initial value) to form the final key, or combining DNA dynamic coding with a chaotic system. This can improve the diffusion capacity of the DNA base, and effectively resist the CPA and KPA. Sixth, in addition to using more secure chaotic systems combined with DNA coding to perform image encryption, researchers should combine the DNA coding methods effectively to improve the security of the DNA coding encryption methods.
This study first reviewed the existing DNA coding-based image encryption methods. Image encryption based on DNA coding was classified into five types, depending on the type of DNA coding: DNA fixed coding, DNA dynamic coding, different types of base complement operation, different DNA sequence algebraic operations, and combinations of multiple DNA operations. All these methods and other existing methods were compared and explained. Furthermore, we combined the optimal coding mechanism with the optimal DNA coding operation to develop a new encryption scheme, and demonstrated its effectiveness and security. Finally, the shortcomings of the existing image encryption methods and the future direction for improvement were discussed. In the future, we will study the advantages and disadvantages of image encryption methods based on different combinations of DNA coding and dynamic DNA operations. We will also study the influence of different chaotic systems on DNA coding schemes.
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