Welcome to The Authenticator - Brand Protection & Document Security.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Halftoning Potential

Halftone color composition & angles

When dealing in the realm of security features, where the technology itself is covertly encoded into a graphic file that is eventually printed either as a package, document, banknote, etc., it is important to consider the fine details. Some specs to pay attention to are usually resolution, registration, color process, printing process, applied screens, dot/line structure detail, density, LPI, etc.

In particular, the halftoning process, typically found in most multi-colored printing processes (CMYK, RGB, etc.) lends itself to some creative potential. For example, depending on what the requirements and desired results are of a given security feature, the shape of the screen may play a key role (dots vs. lines, diamonds vs. ellipses). In some cases, different printing processes impliment different types of screens - Gravure press work is usually easy to spot as there is a triangular rosette that forms, unlike dot screens, which form "flowery" cirlcular rosettes. There is also a benefit to creating a unique screen that contains, for example - a company logo, rather than a dot. Probably most importantly, however, is the angle of the screens. It is good practice for each color screen to be 30 degreees apart, as this generally ensures that there won't be any overlapping or morie effects. With more research and mathematical problem solving, there is potential to take the halftoning process to a whole spectrum of new levels.

For some very interesting demonstrations and information on halftoning, screens and morie effects, click the image below.

"Moiré Patterns" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fake Fruit! - What next?

The following article refers to an issue with counterfeit oranges and there are many other fruits on the market that also prove to be fake. In some cases, fruit brands can be protective by encorporating security features on their fruit labels, but even better is to deploy direct applications, which are present on the actual fruit. These taggants can even be safe to consume (some are even FDA approved) and are usually forensic in nature. Look for future articles on direct-to-dose and direct-to-consumables security technologies.

Here's the article:

'Israeli oranges' faked in China

By Andre Vornic
BBC News

One of the oranges allegedly found in Iran (photo from the Iranian news agency Mehr)
Photos from Tehran showed fruit marked "Israel"

A twist has emerged in the story of Israeli citrus fruit reportedly sold in Iran in defiance of a ban on commercial dealings between the two enemy states.

It has now been revealed the fruit, a type of orange-grapefruit hybrid marketed as Jaffa Sweetie, were not Israeli in the first place.

The Sweeties were brought to Iran from China, where faking the origin of goods is a common practice.

The discovery of apparent Israeli origin caused a stir in Iran.

Outrage followed, distribution centres stocking the fruit were sealed and accusations were traded.

Such is the infamy of dealing with Israel that an Iranian official went so far as to accuse the opposition of a "citrus plot".

However, Tal Amit, the general manager of Israel's Citrus Marketing Board, told the BBC the fruit had not originated in his country.

Prestigious fruit

"First of all, it's a bit annoying that somebody is using our brand name and registered trademark without our permission," he said.

Chinese boxes allegedly containing Israeli oranges found in Iran (photo from the Iranian news agency Mehr)
The fruit was packed in boxes marked "Origin China"

"Apart from this, I would like very much the Iranian people to eat Israeli fruit straight from the origin and not via China.

"But the politics is not allowing us to do any commercial relations with Tehran at the moment while back 30 to 40 years ago, Tehran was a superb market for our fruit."

The genuine Israeli Sweetie is primarily exported to the Far East's richest markets, Japan and South Korea.

That could explain the prestige of the fruit in the eyes of Chinese exporters and the temptation to counterfeit it.

It is not the first time, however, that citrus fruit have found themselves at the heart of an international political row.

Back in the 1980s, as the most visible of South Africa's consumer exports, oranges became the key target of anti-Apartheid boycott campaigns.

eBay's Fight Againt Fraud

eBay claims victory in counterfeit case

UK courts rule in favour of auction site in L'Oreal case

Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

eBay won a legal victory on Friday when a UK court sided with the auction site in a counterfeit goods case.

The judges ruled that the company could not be held liable for a series of auctions in which counterfeit L'Oreal products. The cosmetic maker was suing to prevent all sales of its products on eBay.

The UK High Court ruled that while eBay could do more to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods, the site does not encourage the sales of such items. eBay's own records suggest that of its 2.7bn auctions last year, 0.15 per cent of items sold were counterfeit.

"This is an important judgment because it ensures that consumers can continue to buy genuine products at competitive prices on eBay," said Richard Ambrose, head of trust and safety for eBay.

"When companies try to prevent genuine items being sold through the internet they demonstrate that they are out of step with consumers, how they use the internet to shop and, at this time when every penny counts, the importance of shopping around to get the best price."

The suit is one of several which the French cosmetics maker has brought against eBay. The auction service claimed similar victories in France, Belgium and the United States.

Cigar Aficionado Counterfeit Gallery

The popular and upscale magazine, Cigar Aficionado has a section on their website dedicated to showcasing known counterfeit cigar bands. Visit this gallery and you will be surprised what soe counterfeiters are trying to pass of as the real thing! Counterfeit Cigar Gallery





Microsoft Counterfeit Gallery

Microsoft has developed a nice gallery to showcase seized counterfeit Microsoft products such as these:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Overt, Covert, Forensic & More

Typically, when one thinks of the available security features out there, the terms "overt, covert and forensic" come to mind. But why limit the distinctions to only these three tiers?

Below, are details and examples of the "usual 3" tiers of security plus 2 proposed others.

Overt: This type of security feature, although favorable among marketing people and the general public, is usually readily available and therefore less secure. (Holograms, Color Shifting Ink, Security Fibers, Floating Images, Reflective/ Metalized Inks, Guilloche Patterns, etc.)


-Color Shifting Ink-

Covert: This type of security feature, as the name implies, is typically designed or placed in a such a was as to be invisible to the naked eye without proper training and/or technological assistance. This can come in the form of various stimuli that cause special inks or graphics to react. UV and IR are popularly used in this tier of security, however there are also other methods such as polarization and proprietary encoding/ decoding technologies. (Fluorescent/ Ultra-Violet Inks, Infrared Inks, Watermarks, Temperature-Sensitive Inks, Scrambled Indicia, Pantographs, Chemically-Active Inks, etc.)

-UV Inks-

-IR Inks-

Forensic: This type of security feature generally requires a sample to be taken back to a lab for a full forensic interigation. Although highly secure, it is often very expensive to integrate. (DNA Taggants, Chemical/ Ionic Taggants, Nano Taggants, etc.)

-Nano Taggants-

-DNA & Chemical Taggants-

Tamper-Evident: This type of security feature could also be placed in the covert section, as it is in fact covert in nature. One method involves a high-resolution graphic screening processes, which hides tamper-evident messages, such as "VOID" or "COPY" in the background of a given document. It is only revealed once the document is attemtped to be copied. Another method aims to reveal any tampering to an adhesive label. Once the lable is peeled off, portions of the image remain stuck to the surface it was peeled from. (Void-Pantographs, Tamper-Evident Labels, Temperature-Evident Materials, Shock-Evident Materials, etc.)

-Void Pantographs-

-Tamper-Evident Adhesive Labels-

Track & Trace: This type of security feature could also be placed in the overt section, as the very presence of track and trace technologies indicates that there is a database-monitoring system to back it. What sets these features apart from other security technologies, is as the name implies, their abilities to hold specific, unique and variable information. (Linear Barcodes, 2DMI Barcodes, Serial Numbers, Proprietary Plot & Angular Barcodes, etc.)

-Various 2DMI Barcodes-

-Linear & 2DMI Barcodes + Micro Barcodes-

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spotting Funny Money

Catch 'Em If You Can!

Authentication by Surface Analysis

"Below, is an article that references a new application of surface analysis authentication device. This type of technology, although in its infancy, is used in the pharmaceutical industry. It implements the concept of verifying the authenticity of a single, unique package, document, product, etc. by mapping microscopic textural fingerprints that are absolutely unique in nature due to inconsistencies in the manufacturing process. For example, take a look at this knife blade under high magnification:

All of those little etches on the knife edge are unique to each blade. These surface analysis technologies are able to distinguish one unique item from another, which makes them great for authentication. Expect to see creative applications for this type of technology in the near future!"

Here's the article>>

Marlborough, Mass. A new magneto-optical visualization technology is helping US law enforcement agencies detect altered vehicle identification numbers (VIN) quickly and easily.

According to Document Forensics, the sole US distributor of this technology, magneto-optical visualization, or MOV as it’s known, can “see” through VIN tags located on car dashboards and detect any alterations caused by physical and chemical etching or other forms of metal-working.

A family of products under the brand name Complex utilize MOV to help law enforcement officers and transportation officials examine surface relief of homogeneous metals with magnetic characteristics to detect traces of metal-working, integrated non-ferromagnetic materials, surface defects of weld seams. The non-destructive method does not require removing lacquer-and-paint coating or layers of corrosion.

Data management software, called VideoScope, when used with Complex verification systems enables the data gathered from VIN tag inspection to be processed, analyzed, and stored for easy retrieval by criminal laboratories, law enforcement agencies, judicial departments, customs, and insurance companies. Additional Complex components enable officials to quickly determine authenticity of accompanying vehicle documents and forms.

Document Forensics offers a complete line of document authentication devices and systems designed to help local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and private firms spot and combat document forgeries, identity theft, and illegal entry. For more information or to schedule a demonstration visit