Thursday, December 26, 2013

Academic sources for authentication of digital images

For folks needing references for their authentication work, here's a short list (in no particular order):

  • E. Kee, M.K. Johnson and H. Farid, "Digital image authentication from JPEG headers", IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 6, pp. 1066-1075, 2011.
  • J. Kornblum, "Using JPEG quantization tables to identify imagery processed by software", Digital Investigation, vol. 5, pp. S21–S25, 2008.
  • CCITT Recommendation T.81, ISO/IEC 10918-1:1994, "Information technology - Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images: Requirements and guidelines ", 1992.
  • Z. Lin, J. He, X. Tang, Chi K. Tang "Fast, automatic and fine-grained tampered JPEG image detection via DCT coefficient analysis", Journal Pattern Recognition, Vol. 42, pp. 2492-2501, 2009.
  • Alin C. Popescu and H. Farid, "Statistical tools for digital forensics", Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 3200, pp 128-147, 2005.
  • H. Farid, "Exposing digital forgeries from JPEG ghosts", IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 4, pp. 154-160, 2009.
  • M.C. Stamm and K.J.R. Liu, "Forensic Detection of Image Tampering Using Intrinsic Statistical Fingerprints in Histograms", IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 5, pp. 492-506, 2010.
  • J. Lukas, J. Fridrich and M. Goljan, "Digital Camera Identification from Sensor Noise ", IEEE Transactions on Information Security and Forensics, pp. 205-214, 2006.
  • Mo Chen, J. Fridrich and M. Goljan , "Digital Imaging Sensor Identification (Further Study)", Proceedings. of SPIE Electronic Imaging, Security, Steganography and Watermarking of Multimedia Contents, pp. 0P-0Q, 2007.
  • W. Wang, J. Dong and T. Tan, "Tampered Region Localization of Digital Color Images Based on JPEG Compression Noise", Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Digital watermarking, pp. 120-133, 2010.
  • R. Gonzalez and R. Woods, "Digital Image Processing (3rd ed.)", Prentice Hall, pp. 165–168, 2008.
  • M. Kirchner and T. Gloe, "On Resampling Detection in Re-compressed Images". IEEE Workshop on Information Forensics and Security, pp. 21-25, 2009.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Saw Mommy Kissing Jólnir Under the Mistletoe

Yuletide greetings from sunny Towcester Abbey, in the beautiful Sierra Pelona Mountains of California. Thanks for your support over the years.


A Viking-Asatru Christmas Carol

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Hall
Not a creature was stirring, not warrior nor thrall.
And I in my armor, my greaves and my helm
Was drunker than anyone else in the Realm.

I staggered upstairs and fell into bed
While four quarts of mead were ablaze in my head.
Then up from below came the sounds of a brawl
So I grabbed up my axe and ran down to the Hall.

I missed the last step and crashed down in a heap
Thinking, “Why can’t those low-lifes downstairs go to sleep!”
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But two brawny strangers, wielding mallet and spear.

I said to myself, “We’ll soon have them beat!”
Then I noticed ten warriors laid out at their feet.
I gave out a yell and leapt into the fray…
I’ll always regret my poor choice of that day.

For the one laid his hammer to the side of my nose
And up, up, up to the rafters I rose.
Then came a lone frightened voice from the floor,
“Those are no mortal warriors — that’s Odin and Thor!”

Then they looked at each other and they said, “Battle’s done.
Now they know who we are, it no longer is fun.”

Then Thor raised his hammer, and his elbow he bent,
And with a loud crash, through the ceiling they went.
I crawled through the Hall and flung open the door,
Not really sure that I’d seen them before.

The snow bathed in starlight, the moon like a glede,
I saw them ride off on an eight-legged steed.
And I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they flew out of sight,
“TO HELA WITH CHRISTMAS, WE JUST LOVE A GOOD FIGHT!”

-author unknown, but many thanks to Pye O'Malley-

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Authenticate Warning Software Keywords


Software developers can't know everything from every corner of the world. That's a given. So when it comes to selling a single piece of software around the world, it helps to make using it as flexible as possible.

Amped Software's Authenticate features this hidden gem in the Program Options>File Format dialog, you can customize the Keywords. In my practice, I see a lot of images carved out of physical dumps from cell phones. There's no way of keeping track of all the different apps from all the different countries. But, as I encounter a new one, I can research it and find out what it does to the image. Then, I can add it to the list of Keywords.

I can also export the settings file (Save Settings) to share with the court or a co-worker - or load someone else's settings file. In this way, we can easily QA another expert's work, or collaborate with the larger community of experts.

It's just another reason why Authenticate is head and shoulders above the competition.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Authenticate file type support

Folks have been wondering if Amped Software's Authenticate works with image file types other than those found on social media sites. Based on the early marketing of the product, many think it's just for .jpeg files. Well, that's not true. Unlike FourMatch (which only supports .jpeg files from within Photoshop, Amped Authenticate supports all the most common image formats and many of the uncommon ones too.

Currently it allows the user to work with the following formats: Jpeg, Tiff, Bitmap, PNG, TGA, Jpeg 2000, Ico, GIF, Dicom, EMF, EPS, Photo PCD, XPM and Raw camera formats from most manufacturers.

Since the most common format is JPEG, some of the filters are exclusively designed to analyze the features of this format. In any case, all the filters that work on the pixel data will work on any kind of image as well as the analysis of metadata (if present) also supports almost all the formats.

This serves as great news for those folks investigating academic fraud. Many of these cases involve Dicom images used in academic articles. Now, you have a better option than HHS - Office of Research Integrity's Forensic Droplets. "The image can be resized and reoriented using "Free Transform" in the Edit Menu to test alignment of the images." Are you F--ing kidding me?! Free transform?!

Thankfully, with Authenticate, you have an option rooted in sound science.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Effective Courtroom Testimony: Trick Questions

This just in from Digital Forensic Investigator, "The cross-examination can be very tricky and quickly make you appear to be feeble minded. There are two types of questions often asked to catch you off guard, whereby attempting to discredit your testimony.

  • Ambiguous Question: This type of question is designed to have a double meaning. Therefore, no matter how you answer, it can be turned around and used against you. The solution is to request clarification or ask for the question to be rephrased before attempting to answer.
  • Two-part Question: This type of question is usually asked because the person asking it is knowingly aware that one part of the question is obviously true and the other part is obviously false. Therefore, if you attempt to answer both parts of the question at the same time, you will be caught in a “Catch 22.” The solution is to answer only one part of the question. Select which part of the question you would like to answer, then simply state, “Since this is a two-part question, let me answer the (first/second) part.” Do not automatically start to answer the other part of the question when you finish the first part. Let the other part of the question be redirected to you.

Once you have deciphered which type of question you are being asked, thoroughly think through your answer before speaking, and then answer with confidence."

To find out more, click here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Salient Sciences

A lot of folks were wondering what happened to Salient Stills. It turns out, they're back ...

Salient Sciences = DAC + Salient Stills!

You might remember that Salient Stills was quietly acquired in July by DAC. The combined company has been rebranded as Salient Sciences. The new company announced an update to VideoFOCUS Pro, "In January, we will be releasing the latest VideoFOCUS Pro version 4.1, which incorporates a number of improvements, including drag-and-drop import of videos and image sequences and greatly expanded file format support through FFMPEG."

Monday, December 16, 2013

The MAVEN Project

Amped Software recently announced it's participation in the MAVEN Project. "Amped to develop new image and video forensic technologies with the MAVEN European Project.

Most of our research and development activities are done internally within our company, but we also believe in cooperation with university and research institutes to further push the state of the art of the current technologies in the forensic field. In this context, we are happy to announce that we are joining the MAVEN European Project: we really think that the scientific and technical expertise of the other institutions involved in the project will allow us to develop new outstanding in the field of image and video forensics."

"MAVEN is a collaborative project among seven European partners, which has been selected by the European Commission as one of the projects funded under the “Research for the benefit of SMEs” programme, in the 7th Framework Programme. The focus of this programme is to foster applied research driven by the needs of small and medium-sized companies, with the aim of producing a positive impact on their business in the short term. As for MAVEN, its technical goal is to develop market-ready, efficient and robust tools for the management and authenticity verification of multimedia contents. The project officially started on October 1st, and will run for 24 months until September 30th, 2015."

"Despite the advances in the Security and Media sectors, MAVEN arises from the need of providing such industries with a suite of advanced technological solutions, able to operate in a range of realistic scenarios (CCTV, web images, broadcast data, etc). The project results will allow SMEs, law enforcement bodies, press agencies, insurance companies and broadcasting companies, among others, to manage their multimedia assets and verify its integrity and authenticity, all in an efficient and scalable manner."

"MAVEN project will develop a set of tools for multimedia data management and security. The project’s objectives will be centered on two key concepts: “SEARCH” and “VERIFY”, both integrated in a coherent manner. This “search and verify” concept is not supported in an integrated manner by any tool currently available in the market."

With the impressive list of companies involved in the Project, it should be very interesting to see what comes of it all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photoshop as an amazing verb

“If a person in an image looks so pristine they look unreal, 90 percent of the time it is unreal,” she continued. “Photoshop is an amazing tool and I love it (otherwise I wouldn’t have spent years learning it), but I wanted to point out that it can be — and is — often abused.” - Anna Hill.

This just in from theblaze.com, "When you flip open a magazine or watch an ad on primetime TV, how much of the makeup or fashion model you’re seeing is real, and how much has been digitally enhanced?

Anna Hill, who’s been using Photoshop since she was in her teens, is highly aware of how much we’re shown that’s been faked using technology, as demonstrated in a recent viral video that showed such a transformation in progress.

“Many are edited so much, they may as well be advertising Photoshop rather than what they sell,” the 24-year-old student told TheBlaze in an email.

For her final advanced digital photography class project at East Carolina University, Hill “thought it would be fun to make fun of how much beauty ads are digitally enhanced.”

Photo credit: Anna Hill

Whilst the work and the commentary have more to do with beauty and the media, it's illustrative to know just how much Photoshop can alter your reality.

Is it a good or bad thing? It depends. Check out Anna Hill's work here and see for yourself.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Testing the Resolution of the Human Eye

Thanks to @spreadys for this article.

"All sorts of wild guesses and theoretical calculations exist about what the resolution of the human eye is, with 576MP a common claim.

No one we can find has ever actually tested it . . . until now.

In this report, we share our findings of testing various resolution IP cameras against the human eye.

Results Summary

Here's a summary of the full test results, explained inside the report …"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Administration to review facial recognition technology

With agencies looking at facial recognition technology, this article notes that the Obama administration is taking a look at it from the privacy standpoint. "The Obama administration on Tuesday said it plans to review the privacy implications of facial recognition technology.Lawmakers and privacy advocates have expressed fears that tech companies and government agencies are using facial recognition technologies to track people, often without their knowledge."

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) ... applauded the [Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)] move. “Clear policies that support consumer privacy are crucial as facial recognition technology is developed and deployed,” he said. “While these technologies hold great promise for innovation, consumers — not companies — should to be in control of their sensitive personal information, including having the choice to affirmatively opt-in to being subject to facial recognition or detection.”

The [NTIA] said the first meeting about the technology will take place Feb. 6, 2014.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lock It, Hide It, Keep It

Normally, I stay away from comments about policing in Los Angeles. Today, however, I'm going to use a recent marketing campaign in Los Angeles to make a point about point about CCTV in particular and policing in general.

According to the LA Daily News, there have been 23,265 thefts from motor vehicles in Los Angeles thus far this year. This time last year, there were 23,531. This time in 2011, there were 22,614. These numbers represent those crimes actually reported.

With the blanketing of Los Angeles with CCTV cameras, and with the Mayor's goal of 10,000 sworn officers being met in 2009, you'd think that property crimes would be reduced significantly. But they haven't.

If you can imagine the range of crimes being investigated, and the relatively low priority of property crimes, then you can understand why there are only about 6 or 7 staff assigned per geographical area to investigate property crimes. The total might be around 100 investigators. These 100 are responsible for over 23k crimes. That's a huge caseload.

Enter CCTV. It's everywhere. If it's a deterrent, then crime should be down significantly. But, again, it's not. The tech is old, under maintained, and generally not fit for purpose. In many cases, companies have just replaced their old VCRs with a DVR. No upgrades to cameras or lenses. Many are trying to cover entire parking lots from roof-top cameras with small lenses.

With a few police agencies actually publishing lists of crimes that won't generate a police response, and most having informal/internal policies about response priorities, this new marketing campaign's admission is probably the best advice.

Crime is out of control. In Los Angeles, there have been over 90k Part 1 Crimes year to date. If you live in a small town, like me, that number is staggering and almost incomprehensible. There are so many crimes in most major cities that CrimeMapping.com can only map a few months of data before running out of room on its map.


In the end, the police marketing seems accurate. The steps you take are your best defense against crime.