Picture protection, the sinews of war!

Category: Identity

The identity of a person can be as simple as his/her name and ID picture. This is what allows others to recognize and differentiate you among many people. Being recognized as an individual is part of everyone’s life which makes identity even more critical to protect.

Identity document forgery usually focuses on the photo ID: it is the first and sometimes the unique biometric element that is checked on an ID card. Moreover, the control is often done at a glance which makes it even more vulnerable to trickery while potentially leaving room for the subjectivity of the controllers.

The Malefactors have lost no time in stepping into this breach. They are actually either modifying the original picture or replacing it completely with a forged one which is difficult to identify with naked eyes…

It is then critical to put in place the proper countermeasures to fight against these types of forgeries. There is no silver bullet to that but here below are some examples of what can leverage significantly the level of security of your ID picture:

– Use of a high security Diffractive Optically Variable Image Device (so called “DOVID”) to protect the personalized data. This type of security feature, well-established and adopted in the ID market, protects against data substitution and counterfeiting.

– Specific information, such as personal data, hidden into the ID picture itself that can be checked using a decoding lens for example. Any modifications of the picture will result in the alteration of the encoded data made visible with the control tool.

– The integration of additional ID pictures, often called “Ghost images”, increases the overall resistance of the document as each card holder’s picture must be modified or reproduced when making a fake document. This is especially true when the portraits are combined with various types of security features.

– Use of an integrated circuit chip into the identity document which stores locally an extended amount of information related to the identity document or its holder.

– …

Usually, documents are designed for several years. To insure the sustainability of a new ID document, it is highly recommended, when selecting a panel of security features, to balance limitations and costs. This is achieved by implementing a smart combination of well-known and innovative security features that usually require appropriate training or special equipment of control.

To overcome that, SURYS has developed a patented digital security feature that will help the controllers performing an automated authentication of the picture which is printed on the identity document without special equipment. The so called Photometrix™ solution embeds the digital signature of the picture into an encrypted 2D code which is then compared with the one from the printed picture. The control, performed using a smartphone, will confirm whether or not the picture has been modified. In option, the Photometrix™ code can also integrate a biometric comparison which links the card holder to the authenticated personalized card without any sort of subjectivity.


Amaury Chasseux