Digital watermarking and data hiding are important tools for digital rights protection of media data. Spread spectrum (SS)-based watermarking and data-hiding approaches are popular due to their outstanding robustness, but their security might not be sufficient. To improve the security of SS, a SS-based image data-hiding approach is proposed by encrypting the discrete cosine transform coefficients of the host image with the piecewise linear chaotic map, before the operation of watermark embedding. To evaluate the performance of the proposed approach, simulations and analyses of its robustness and security are carried out. The average bit-error-rate values on 100 real images from the Berkeley segmentation dataset under the JPEG compression, additive Gaussian noise, salt and pepper noise, and cropping attacks are reported. Experimental results show that the proposed approach can maintain the high robustness of traditional SS schemes and, meanwhile, also improve the security. The proposed approach can extend the key space of traditional SS schemes from 1019 to 1047and thus can resist brute-force attack and unauthorized detection watermark attack.