A Start-Up Figures Out Photoshop Abuses
Hany Farid, a professor at Dartmouth College, has built a career and a reputation as a leading researcher in digital image forensics. He has made software tools for a number of impressive projects in recent years. One was a pixel-sleuthing program to detect how much fashion photographs have been burnished with Adobe’s Photoshop editing program to remove wrinkles and flab, while plumping up lips and breasts.
Mr. Farid is hoping to broaden the reach of his work as co-founder and chief technology officer of a start-up company, Fourandsix Technologies, which is being announced on Tuesday.
The company’s president and other founder is Kevin Connor, who spent 15 years at Adobe. He was vice president of product management for Photoshop until last year, when he left to join Mr. Farid. At Adobe, Mr. Connor said, he was familiar with Mr. Farid’s research, and Adobe engineers often cooperated with the Dartmouth scientist.
The core market for its first product, Mr.Connor said, will be law enforcement agencies and news organizations, where the authenticity of a photograph spells the difference between the truth and a lie. The Department of Homeland Security and the Associated Press were among the beta testers.
Fourandsix’s downloadable software, FourMatch, determines the likelihood that an image has been altered by comparing the digital “signature” of an image with a database of more than 70,000 known signatures for cameras, smartphones, software and online services, from social networks like Facebook to photo-storing sites like Picasa. The software tells the user if an image matches a known signature or has been modified by software and can suggest how extensive the alteration may have been. FourMatch works as an extension to Photoshop.
The many signatures arise from the malleability of the JPEG standard, the format in which nearly all cameras save images. Different cameras and mobile devices have varying sensor sizes and resolution settings, and techniques for handling thumbnail pictures and image metadata. Different cameras and software use different methods to compress image files. All leave telltale digital tracks.
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Bringing Your Old-Media Memories Into the Digital Age
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FourMatch leverages the fact that there is nearly endless variety to exactly how hardware and software products can choose to store a JPEG file. This variety results in a distinctive set of “signatures” from each hardware and software product. Once an image has been edited and resaved from a software product, this signature is changed to match the software rather than the original capture device. Thus, when a file signature correctly matches a known signature from the device that captured the photo, you can be confident that the photo has not been edited.
Fourandsix has built a database of more than 70,000 signatures representing more than 2,400 camera models and mobile devices, as well as signatures from a variety of image editing programs and online services. When you purchase a copy of FourMatch, you’re also purchasing access to this valuable database, which is updated frequently as new devices become available. Loaded with this database, FourMatch can quickly assess the authenticity of many images.
icarusinbound wrote:Apologies, you'll be miles ahead of me on this, but you're aware that Fourmatch says it has to sit on top of (at minimum) full CS5, not just LE or Elements? So that's an $890 application extension that sits on top a $700+ app?
Looks interesting and powerful, but challenging price structures..
lux wrote:I'm not sure I understand what this software does. It only determines if an image has been through an editor?
If so, that in itself wouldn't necessarily indicate it was faked.
Equinox wrote:2000. Suspect images... And well when THEY ALL come back as fake, I believe that speaks multitudes.
2000 photos, And Not one of them are real??
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