An end to paper fraud: technology eases forgery nightmare of public, lawyers and government

December 2004 Products

Millions have been invested in developing computer security mechanisms aimed at protecting people against IT fraud. However, the biggest challenge that remains is safeguarding and protecting the originality and authenticity of printed documents, as ordinary paper is still wide open to fraud.

The major problem is the verification and guarantee of the authenticity of documents such as Matric certificates, degrees and diplomas, legal documentation, motor vehicle registrations, ID documents, etc. A solution is now within the reach of every individual, business and organisation.

Access to the new paper protection technology will soon be available over the counter through a Microsoft plug-in. AuthentiDoc, a subsidiary of South Africa's Dex Security Solutions, which trades internationally, has developed a simple but innovative solution to paper security, called Digital Data Watermark Technology.

"This watermark contains a digital signature of the originating organisation together with the contents of the page and is printed in the form of an encrypted bar code. To authenticate the document this bar code is scanned to reproduce the contents and verifies the author," says Jans Wessels, managing director of Dex Data Technologies and Director of subsidiary company, AuthentiDoc International. It is vital to secure paper documents in order to allow organisations to authenticate the contents as original and to verify that it has not been tampered with.

It is a highly feasible, cost effective, and proven solution. Tickets for the 2003 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa were protected with a Dex digital data watermark. Out of close to a million tickets sold not a single one was successfully forged with around 60 000 fraudulent attempts.

Until recently, special scanners were needed to read the digital data watermark of a secured document, but recent extensions to the technology enables the general public to verify the secured content of documents by using readily available tools such as a fax machine or cellphone camera. The printed digital data watermark is faxed to an automated authentication system that will decrypt and fax back the originating document for comparison. Automated comparison can also be done by electronically comparing a faxed document with the originating document produced from the digital data watermark or by using a cellphone camera to send the captured image via a GPS network to an automated authentication system.

For more information AuthentiDoc International, Dex Data Technologies, 011 644 6500,

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