Spotlight on Our Security Features | Part 3

Internet Theft - a man wearing a balaclava and holding a credit card while sat behind a laptop,

To safeguard your documents and ID cards against fraud, we incorporate multiple layers of security features into our products, many of which are not detectable to the naked eye. In the third installment of our security features series, we look at three more advanced security techniques used within Nikuv’s solutions and systems.

Digital Watermarks

Digital watermarking is a great safeguard against fraud because it allows a digital ID to be placed into documents and images. Although this is undetectable to the naked eye, the digital watermark can be read and identified by computers and a wide range of scanning devices. The watermark itself can include critical information about the person holding the document and its intended recipient. The technique allows our clients to screen and prevent documents and images being emailed, uploaded online or copied when they shouldn’t be while also tracing them back to the original source.

Laser Perforation & Writing

This is one of the more widely used security techniques, to protect passports and identity cards from counterfeit. The technique is very efficient against preventing fraud because the perforations, or tiny little holes, connect the front and back of the document, which means it can’t be duplicated or faked using machines. This method is great because it can be applied to a range of surfaces using a custom design. It’s a low cost technique that is a proven safeguard in the prevention of fraud, and can be used with documents and cards around the world.

Thermal Retransfer

The explanation behind this security technique can get a little technical, but the benefits are plain to see. Thermal retransfer is a two step printing process that safeguards cards against tampering and fraud. The first step is printing your high resolution image and information onto a clear flexible film, where the image gets printed in reverse. The next step involves heating the film to transfer the image onto the card. The film thermally bonds with the card and the printed image is now visible under a clear layer. Any attempts to change or tamper with the card become obvious because the film is damaged and it cannot be replaced.

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Spotlight on Our Security Features- Part 2

In the second post in our ‘spotlight’ series, we put three more essential security techniques under the magnifying glass, to highlight how our documents and information are protected against fraud and counterfeit attempts.

 Security Technology
Biometric data is one of the most comprehensively secure formats available for verification purposes

 

Optical Memory Cards

We use optical memory cards because they can store a large amount of digital data, and this makes them extremely handy for use as secure ID cards. Many of Nikuv’s clients are utilizing this technology because the cards can store fingerprints, facial images and a wide variety of transactional data. The cards are very durable, they can store approximately 3 Megabytes of data, are machine-readable, and include the most counterfeit-resistant security design features to prevent alteration of data and fraudulent reproduction. The data is loaded in an irreversible manner, each card can be customized to meet specific needs, and the reading hardware is uniquely matched to the cards.

Biometric Data

Biometric data is one of the most comprehensively secure formats available for verification purposes. The kind of information that is used for security purposes includes fingerprints, iris scans, palmprints and facial photos. When paired with demographic data about a person, such as your name, age, address and phone number, it provides highly reliable details. Our identification products, for example, enable governmental bodies to instantly verify the identity of a biometric card holder at any time, at any place in the world, using a paperless process.

WORM

WORM (which stands for ‘write once read many’) is a data storage device which ensures that once information is written it cannot be modified. When integrated into data products, this is an important security feature that prevents fraud across a range of industries. What it means is that data cannot be altered, tampered with in any way, or accidentally removed. The WORM feature is popular with large corporations and government agencies alike, due to its simple, yet efficient and robust applications.

Spotlight on Our Security Features

Security Features in Nikuv’s Cards and Documents

The incorporated security features and add-on options we offer our clients are at the heart of our business. To ensure large organizations can stay several steps ahead of counterfeiters and fraudsters, we add layers of cutting edge technology to our products and solutions. In the first of our ‘spotlight’ series, we introduce three important features that Nikuv uses to keep documents secure.

Security Options

Holograms

Holograms are used as a security feature in passports, documents and cards, and are an overlaminate layer with a holographic image embedded into it. They are made using a master hologram that requires extremely specialized and expensive equipment to produce, and it’s this feature that makes them very hard to forge or replicate. A standard hologram is a great feature on its own, however where there are more complex requirements it can be upgraded with micro text printing into the hologram, which provides an enhanced level of security.

Ghost Images

You will be familiar with ‘ghost images’ from certain ID cards, where a small version of the main photo usually appears on the side of the card. Specialized software is used to create and add the ghost image to the card during printing. This is a simple and cost-effective process that adds a fantastic safeguard against fraud, which is difficult to reproduce and is an essential feature in all modern security cards.

Ultra Violet Print

Ultra violet, or UV, printing is another fundamental security measure that is incorporated into the production of passports and documents nowadays. Printing with florescent dyes onto a UV dull substrate surface allows documents to be layered with images, designs and wording that is invisible to the naked eye in daylight. When placed under a UV light source, the ‘invisible ink’ glows to reveal often impressive and intricate embedded images. This is a front-line measure against counterfeiting that Nikuv works with as standard.

The Legal Aspect of Biometric Systems

The Legal Status of Using Biometric Data

Biometric SystemsIn recent years, the use of biometric data – templates and images – has been the subject of discussion by scores of legal professionals and laypeople. According to the European Union directive, ‘raw’ forms of biometric data are considered personal data. Personal data includes any unique information that is attributed to an identifiable person with an ID number, economic, mental, physiological or social identity, etcetera. All forms of raw data are covered by the Data Protection Directive. Privacy concerns, safety regulations and the type of data that is collected and stored are all considered within legal decisions about using biometric data.

There has been much discussion about biometric data being deemed sensitive and personal. According to the Data Protection Directive (Article 8), the processing of data that reveals personal characteristics such as philosophical beliefs, ethnicity, race or religion should ideally require the consent of the data subjects in question. As far as privacy concerns go, the measures required for obtaining biometric data are often regarded as disproportionate to the tasks it is needed for. It is important to narrow the focus of biometric technology, with oversight as to what data will be stored and how it will be stored. Other questions include who will have access to the biometric data, and how it will be controlled. In practical terms, biometric technologies can be used for national security improvement and so forth.

Biometric Technology and the Privacy of Health Data

The details contained in biometric data include information used for identification and information not used for identification. The former type of data includes Randotypic, Genotypic, and Behavioral details. Information that is not used to identify an individual may include data about an acute disease. Generally speaking, biometric information does not disclose health information. As it stands, the current biometric technology does not allow for disclosure of health data, and the technological jump required for biometric systems to reveal health and disease information is a big one.

The Sensitivity of Biometric Data

A survey conducted in 2006 revealed that 63% of respondents in the United Kingdom considered biometric data to be sensitive data. The perception of its sensitivity varies according to category, with contact details, biometric and genetic data regarded as highly sensitive by over 33% of those polled. A full 20% of respondents perceive data about political ideology, religious affiliation, ethnicity and race as extremely sensitive. There is also a question as to the anonymity that is possible with biometric data. While it is difficult to completely anonymize data, this can be done when biometric data is stored offline for verification purposes.
As long as there are no clear-cut and rigorously proven answers about what biometric technology is capable, this is one debate that looks set to continue.

The Nuts and Bolts of Fingerprint Biometric Systems

Fingerprint to prevent identity theft - NikuvBiometric systems are highly advanced automated methods of instantly identifying people, based on behavioral or physiological features. Chief among these is fingerprinting. The simplest definition of a fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridges of a person’s finger. This is entirely unique to every single person – no two sets of fingerprints in the world are identical, and they do not change – even with age. Identical twins have distinct fingerprints too. In that sense, fingerprints are the preferred method of identifying people with biometric systems, and are commonly used in forensic science at crime scenes. But they are also a useful means of identifying people for ID documents, drivers’ licenses and passports. And now biometrics fingerprinting is widely used in the workplace and at home with PCs, smartphones, external hard drives, safes, etc.

How Are Fingerprints Captured?

In the traditional sense, police and government agencies capture fingerprints by using ink. The imprint created by the friction ridges transfers the fingerprint to paper. These friction ridges are the elevated parts of the epidermis on fingers. In most cases, only the pads of the last joints (tips) of fingers and thumbs are taken. However, it is increasingly common for entire hand prints to be collected nowadays. Digital recording of friction ridges is being adopted throughout the world. There are several ways that fingerprints are collected including: latent prints, patent prints, plastic prints, exemplar prints and electronic prints.

Biometric Fingerprint Scanning

The reason why biometric fingerprint technology is now widely adopted by government, police and the private sector is the accuracy, reliability, and real-time updating/processing capabilities of this method. Fingerprint scanners generate images of a person’s fingers and then determine whether these images match others in the database. A select number of unique features are targeted and these are then saved as mathematical representations or secure biometric keys. It should be pointed out biometric scanners do not save images of fingerprints; they save algorithmic binary code. Fingerprint authentication is used for several purposes including identifying who you are, what security clearance you have, and what information you are privy to.

Why is Biometric Scanning and Authentication so Popular?

In a world rife with identity fraud, one of the safest ways to authenticate a person’s identity is fingerprinting. It is near impossible to guess the correct algorithmic binary code of a person’s fingerprint. Access passes and security cards can be misplaced, but fingerprints are always on your person. And since passwords are easily lost or forgotten, fingerprints provide the ideal means of secure identification. Biometric fingerprinting provides for a high degree of accuracy in reporting, attendance, and identity. The immediacy, accuracy and security of reported information – vis-à-vis biometric fingerprint scanning – are the most convenient characteristics of this technology. The cost-effective element is another big advantage with biometrics systems. Since ID or access cards don’t need to be issued every time employees are added or removed, the savings are substantial. There is also less risk of fraud since the person is always physically present with biometrics, and theft of ID cards is rendered null and void when fingerprints are used.

 

To find out more about Nikuv and our solutions, visit us at http://www.nikuv.biz/

Securing Documents in the Face of Ever-Increasing Cyber-crime

Corporate Cybersecurity Investment and Deal Volume Trend
Corporate Cybersecurity Investments Increase 5x Since 2009. Data from cbinsights.com

Cyber-crime is costing governments, private corporations and public agencies billions of dollars a year. Extremely sophisticated and creative hackers are developing unique ways around firewalls, encryption, anti-virus and other data protection technologies. Today, a cybersecurity expert is a critical part of your management team. Below is a brief discussion of some of the challenges of document protection and the most commonly utilized responses.

Information Management and Securing Documents

Paper-based document management systems are a nightmare. They are open to security breaches, are inefficient, time-consuming and vulnerable to loss, theft, misfiling and mismanagement. Sophisticated digital database systems streamline operations and secure your documents on safe servers capable of immense backup capabilities. Now the challenge is how to store and protect critical data, such as population registry, birth and death certificates, and immigration documents – considering the reality that various people are interacting on a daily basis with the database system.

The first step is to set up controls that limit the personnel who can read, delete, access, view or alter data. Requiring biometric-based access cards, facial recognition, fingerprints or retinal scans to enter buildings, internal offices where sensitive data is stored, and the database system itself or even the servers room is an important step. Digitized or biometric access cards can also record employees’ database activities, i.e. what files are being opened, modified, copied, extracted, etc., by whom and at what time.

All of these measures will protect you from internal threats. But there are external threats as well. In fact, the more advanced the data storage system, the more attractive it becomes to cyber-criminals looking to hack in to steal and exploit documents and identification data. Cyber-security companies can assist with establishing a series of security measures to protect you from external threats such as malware, phishing, and other cybercrime tools used to steal data from within computer systems.

Passport Control and Securing Borders

Millions of people are travelling. Good news for tourism dollars, but how do you keep your borders secure and protect your citizens’ passports from fraud?

Fortunately, the international community has developed a number of highly sophisticated technologies that make the passport more tamper-proof. These same technologies can be applied to other identification cards, such as driver’s licenses or national ID cards. The international standard today is biometric, including such features as embedded chips, watermarks, holograms, digital photos, special materials and inks, and barcodes.

In today’s fast-paced world, one solution is not enough. Cyber-security experts can design individualized data protection strategies that are flexible enough and specially customized to keep up with the ever creative minds of cyber criminals.

Passport Security: An Ongoing Challenge for Governments

People are on the move. The International Civil Aviation Organization reported that over 3.1 billion people traveled by air to various destinations around the world last year. Governments must juggle the tasks of providing a hospitable and efficient travel environment in order to attract tourist dollars while at the same time ensuring the safety of its citizens and borders. This makes efficient yet accurate and safe passport security a high priority for government agencies.

New Security Measures

In response to various security incidents worldwide, including threats and terrorist attacks, such as 9-11, the international travel organization made several recommendations and requirements for more secure passport documents. Biometrics became the new international standard for fraud-proof passports, but the technology has not been universally accepted. The electronic chip seems to be the most palpable and is most popular in use and implementation today. There has been resistance to other biometric identifiers such as retinal scans, facial recognition and fingerprints due to privacy issues and concerns.

family checking in at airline counter

Evolving Technologies Create Challenges to Security Systems

However, as quickly as security experts develop the newest secure systems to protect personal passport information, new technologies arise that give opportunities to counterfeiters, terrorists and other criminals to access and use confidential passport data. An example is the smartphone. Each new version of the smartphone contains higher levels of technologies, such that now the fraud-resistant passport can easily be breached by a properly rigged smartphone, swiftly and without the holder ever knowing. Smartphones enabled with NFC (Near Field Communication) are able to read the data contained on the electronic chip within 30 seconds. The smartphone can quickly snap a photo of the passport when it is opened to present to authorities. US passports contain RFID-proof technologies that block access as long as the passport is closed.

The lightning speed with which technology advances and spreads around the world means that governments must remain vigilant and continually invest resources and efforts towards developing the most stringent and state-of-the-art protection & security technologies possible.