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Regula updates ID document scanning to detect image forgeries, snuff out ‘ghost’ images

Regula updates ID document scanning to detect image forgeries, snuff out ‘ghost’ images

KYC provider Regula has announced newly updated software it claims will improve organizations’ ability to detect forged images within ID documents, by detecting secondary or “ghost” images.

A “ghost” image is similar to a watermark and contains hidden markers which can only be detected with certain technology, for example, a scanner at an airport.

The updated Regula Document Reader SDK software will automatically check for the presence, or absence, of all the portraits in a document, including primary, secondary, and these ghost images.

According to Regula, the majority of identity documents now have secondary or these “ghost” photos that may or may not be visible to the naked eye.

Such additional images are supposedly added to documents in RFID chips that are read with NFC technology, or in kinegrams or lenticular images, or which can only be visualized under special lights such as ultraviolet.

Lenticular images and kinegrams are optically variable images, which differ depending on how you look at them, similar to a novelty postcard for example.

An ID card could have pictures of the user in a customary position, for example, but then an additional image in a document not visible by normal means.

According to Regula’s own statistics, document fraud is a huge problem worldwide, and half — 49 per cent — of organizations around the world had to deal with fake or modified physical identity documents in 2022.

India is one country that has publicly announced its use of ghost images, introducing them back in 2013, according to reporting by The Times of India, with the aim of cracking down on “rampant” passport fraud within the country.

Per the officials responsible, the new security images were much more difficult to forge.

In a case referenced in the interview, forgers would keep a passport in the freezer for roughly five minutes, then remove the cellophane paper and replace the photograph of the legitimate passport holder with that of the person planning to travel.

Support for these ghost images isn’t the only new feature that Regula is adding to its offering, the company also added verification for LASINK portrait printing technology, a type of laser engraving technology commonly used for printing pictures on important documents.

Though Regula admits that these type of advanced identity document checks work best when a physical document is present, the company claims the updated solution can still work in remote scenarios.

Regula Document Reader SDK apparently provides the capacity to verify the so-called “liveness” of a document during a session where a person moves their ID in front of a mobile or web camera to show that they have it as a hardcopy, not merely as a scanned image or a screenshot.

This supposedly allows the company’s solution to check for the presence and validity of optically variable security elements, like holograms, which can help prove the veracity of a document.

Regula also claims that this type of “liveness” check can work to eliminate the risk of dealing with fake documents that don’t exist physically, but are manufactured by fraudsters in the form of screenshots or images to bypass online verification.

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