A contrast enhancement technique using scaling of internal noise of a dark image in discrete cosine transform (DCT) domain has been proposed in this paper. The mechanism of enhancement is attributed to noise-induced transition of DCT coefficients from a poor state to an enhanced state. This transition is effected by the internal noise present due to lack of sufficient illumination and can be modeled by a general bistable system exhibiting dynamic stochastic resonance. The proposed technique adopts a local adaptive processing and significantly enhances the image contrast and color information while ascertaining good perceptual quality. When compared with the existing enhancement techniques such as adaptive histogram equalization, gamma correction, single-scale retinex, multi-scale retinex, modified high-pass filtering, multi-contrast enhancement, multi-contrast enhancement with dynamic range compression, color enhancement by scaling, edge-preserving multi-scale decomposition and automatic controls of popular imaging tool, the proposed technique gives remarkable performance in terms of relative contrast enhancement, colorfulness and visual quality of enhanced image. © 2012 IEEE.