Steps to identify authentication solutions to curb counterfeiting

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Counterfeiting is menace for brand owners and Government authorities. In over a decade the problem has expanded rapidly and is now not limited to luxury goods and developed economies. There are any numbers of reports available on internet discussing the loss to industry and people due to counterfeiting.

Over the years, in order to prevent counterfeiting from plaguing their business, brand owners started using authentication solutions. With the availability of various authentication solutions, companies and Government authorities are facing problem in selection of a specific authentication solution as the adoption of any given solution is a complex question involving issues, amongst others, of cost, compatibility, feasibility and reliability, and there are divergent views on which technologies should be adopted and the timing for their adoption. While these solutions can sometimes add to the problem, the right selection, usage & implementation of authentication solutions helps companies and authorities to keep them one step ahead of counterfeiting. The selection of an authentication1 solutions2 that protects a document or product is a complex process and necessitates review of a number of factors regarding the role and implementation of the technology. Not all authentication solutions and security features are appropriate for all applications. It is important to understand the strengths and limitations inherent to different technologies, as well as between similar features supplied by different manufacturers.The article explain, “Steps to identify authentication solutions to curb counterfeiting”.

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Steps to identify authentication solutions to curb counterfeiting

  1. 1. www.homai.org6 The Holography Times Vol. 7, Issue 20 Steps to identify authentication solutions to curb counterfeiting By C S Jeena Counterfeiting is menace for brand owners and Government authorities. In over a decade the problem has expanded rapidly and is now not limited to luxury goods and developed economies. There are any numbers of reports available on internet discussing the loss to industry and people due to counterfeiting. Over the years, in order to prevent counterfeiting from plaguing their business, brand owners started using authentication solutions. With the availability of various authentication solutions, companies and Government authorities are facing problem in selection of a specific authentication solution as the adoption of any given solution is a complex question involving issues, amongst others, of cost, compatibility, feasibility and reliability, and there are divergent views on which technologies should be adopted and the timing for their adoption. While these solutions can sometimes add to the problem, the right selection, usage & implementation of authentication solutions helps companies and authorities to keep them one step ahead of counterfeiting. In this article, we try to explain, “Steps to identify authentication solutions to curb counterfeiting”. Introduction: The selection of an authentication1 solutions that protects a document or product is a complex process and necessitates review of a number of factors regarding the role and implementation of the technology. Not all authentication solutions and security features are appropriate for all applications. It is important to understand the strengths and limitations inherent to different technologies, as well as between similar features supplied by different manufacturers. For example: Use of a security watermark2 in a liquor tax stamp3 which is afϐixed to bottles. The goal is to introduce a security watermark as a new overt feature. The liquor tax stamp has a far smaller user population (mostly inspectors) than currency, and this smaller population is better trained and equipped to examine taxstampsthanthegeneralhuman being. This could allow for the use of a covert (or even forensic) feature,butithasbeendetermined by authorities that in this case the risk of counterfeiting is not great enough to invest in equipment or tools and that an overt feature is preferred for the sake of simplicity. The authentication of a watermark is performed by holding the document up to alight. But in this case the document is a tax stamp secured to a glass bottle and it will only be possible to authenticate the feature if the bottle and its contents are transparent (or at least translucent). Many liquor bottles and liquors are opaque and would not allow sufϐicient light transmission for authentication. It isdeterminedthateventhoughthe user population would otherwise be capable of authenticating this feature, the wide range of the environment–from transparent to opaque–makes the use of a Footnotes: 1. Authentication - Authentication is the process of conϔirming that a product, document or even person is authentic. This is usually achieved by looking for speciϔic attributes such as product and document features and security additions such as holograms, optically variable devices, optical variable inks etc. 2. Watermark: A design, symbol or pattern imparted in paper by a raised wire design on a roll (a dandy roll) as the wet paper is being formed on a mesh as it passes through the wet-end drainage process on a paper- making machine. 3. Tax stamp – A revenue stamp, tax stamp or ϔiscal stamp is a (usually) adhesive label used to collect taxes or fees on documents, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, drugs and and many other things. Used by governments as duty and excise stamps. These are high security documents which contained security features such as hologram. Cover Story
  2. 2. www.homai.org 7 The Holography Times Vol. 7, Issue 20 Cover Story security watermark in a liquor tax stamp unusable. This situation is an example of how a widely used and popular feature is rendered ineffective by environmental circumstances. In order to avoid such circumstances, Organisation can follow basic guidelines such as; 1. Purpose of using authentication solutions The organisation needs to understand the purpose of using authentication solutions. As a ϐirst step most organisations should assess the risk to their brand such as i) Does the product have chances of being counterfeited or is it already being counterfeited; ii) If it is being counterfeited, then isitinformoftampering,pilfering, duplication or, by misleading the consumer by adopting a look-a- like form of identiϐication; iii) Is the risk of counterfeiting in the form of digital or non-digital? iv) What the impact such solutions may have on the brand? Once the purpose is clear, the organisation can evaluate the authentication solutions or security feature based on various parameters. 2. Selection of authentication solutions In today’s fast changing technological world, scores of different authentication solutions are available in the market. These days,twofamiliesofauthentication solutions are in use, physical4 and logical security5 features to secure packaging materials and products, (see ϐigure 1). In selecting them various trade-offs are necessary between security and usability. To evaluate whether a given solution will address a given security problem, the security problem must ϐirst be clearly deϐined. 2.1 Basic property The solutions should be extremely difϐicult to copy and tamper evident6 ; 2.2 Audience The solutions should provide easy identiϐication to user, and facilitate product authentication. Security features of authentication solutions must be tailored to the intended user population, the group of people responsible for authenticating the feature. The user population could include the entire public- 4. Physical Security: Physical security features are substances or products which are introduced into, or attached to packaging materials and / or products. The presence of these security substances is veriϔied to authenticate the protected item. As the manufacturing process of security products is conϔidential and highly secure and its availability is strictly limited, it is very difϔicult to counterfeit products secured in this way. 5. Logical Security: Features are based on encryption technologies, allowing the integration of hidden data into images / artworks (steganography / digital watermarks) and supporting the authentication of the product. It is also possible to register the surface structure of packaging material which is unique. With this data, an individual “ϔingerprint” of each individual packaging item can be made. 6. Tamper evident - Tamper-evident describes a device or process that makes unauthorized access to the protected object easily detected. Seals, markings or other techniques may be tamper indicating. Figure 1: Overview of security technologies Authentication Solutions Serialisation Security Technologies Printed PhysicalLogical Cryptographic Identiϐication Structure Analysis Track and Trace Inks / Taggants OVDs and Hologram
  3. 3. www.homai.org8 The Holography Times Vol. 7, Issue 20 Cover Story for example, if the product being secured is currency, or if it is a bottle of a widely sold over-the- counter medication. The user population might be a smaller group in the case of a more specialized product. If the user population is large or has limited interest in authenticating the feature, it may be impractical to supply complicated security features, whereas if the user population is small and specialized, security features of any complexity can be selected. For example, in a survey by Dutch National Bank to measure the public understanding of security features, it was revealed that out of seven selected features, the Hologram came out second with 55 per cent public recognition. 2.3 Authentication layers The solutions should provide multiple levels of authentication. Generally most of the authentication solutions provide one or two level of authentication layers. However, solutions such as high security hologram can provide three authentication layers for different users. The each level of security hologram is designed for a speciϐic purpose. Level one feature can be overt (veriϐication by human eye) and can be used for identiϐication and veriϐication by consumer. Level two, covert (veriϐication by a predetermined device or a tool) can be used by manufacturer or their channel partner for an advanced level of authentication and veriϐication. The third level is highly sophisticated and can be used by forensic experts and can be useful to law enforcement and for evidence in case of litigation. 2.4 Environment factors The solution should work well in different environmental situations (heat, cold, humidity, water, ϐire, chemical exposure, etc). For example, polyester based security holographic excise adhesive label (HEAL) are used by excise authorities in India as they does not wear during transit, handling or in contact with water because of its property and work well in various environmental and climatic conditions. The security features incorporated in HEAL does not varnish when it comes in contact with water, dust, heat, moisture, etc because of non-usage of ink. 2.5 Easy integration Authentication solutions should have feasibility to be integrated with the automated production/ packaginglineifrequired,especially wherever the volumes are large. While selecting authentication solutions it is always recommended to adopt a layered approach combining use of overt, semi-covert, and / or covert technologies to provide a solution that is more difϐicult to copy. 3. Selection of vendor7 providing authentication solutions Once you have identiϐied the solution, you can proceed to the selection of an ethical vendor. The selection of vendor is as important as selection of authentication solution. The ethical vendor will work as your authentication partner, will understand and identify your problem areas and concerns and will suggest the optimised solution. The brand owners can evaluate authentication solutions provider (vendor)onfollowingparameters; 3.1 Good corporate practices Evaluate the vendor on its corporate practices. Ideally, the vendor should have adopted good corporate practices, behave in ethical manner and should be following the prescribed Code of Conduct of its industry association. 3.2 Innovative Being a step ahead is the mantra in anti-counterfeiting industry. Most 7. Vendor – Here it means the manufacturer & provider of authentication technology, systems or solutions
  4. 4. www.homai.org 9 The Holography Times Vol. 7, Issue 20 Cover Story of the ethical vendors upgrade their facilities and solutions to keep themselves & their customer one step ahead of counterfeiters. They can suggest & provide various solutions according to brand protection objectives and the changing times. 3.3 Secure environment The vendor should have an in-house facility to produce these solutions under a secure environment. The vendor must take all possible measures and precautions for maintaining adequate security and secrecy. 3.4 Reference and experience Vendor should have good experience of providing authentication solutions. A vendor reference should always be taken from his existing customers, or you can get the help from trade industry association. In case your vendor is security hologram manufacturers, you can add two more steps such as; 3.5 Member of HoMAI / IHMA He should be a member of trade bodies such as Hologram Manufacturers Association of India (HoMAI) or International Hologram Manufacturer Association (IHMA). 3.6 Registered hologram under HIR8 The Hologram manufacturers association of India has the arrangement with Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB)9 , London so that each HOMAI member can register their security hologram with CIB. The selection & usage of solutions can be a complex and time consuming process, however, the selection and proper implementation of the right technologies will invariably lead to long term beneϐits to the brand owner. As a further step, the Brand Owner / Authorities can also adopt a new ISO Standard ISO: 12931 titled “Performance criteria for authentication tools used in anti-counterfeiting or material goods”. This is a very useful document for a brand owner wishing to adopt globally accepted standards and approach to ϐighting against the counterfeit. This can be seen at http:// www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_ detail?csnumber=52210. All effective solutions, broadly speaking, help in identifying and authenticating the original from counterfeit. They deepen the divide between genuine products and their counterfeits by making a genuine product distinguishable in some manner that is difϐicult to replicate using commercially available manufacturing processes. However, it is very important that a planned surveillance program be in place to constantly monitor that there is no infringement is seen, an immediate action must be taken so that the guilty is punished. Reference: 1. Brand protection challenges and solutions by Pradip H Shroff, ϔirst published in the holography times, February 2011, volume 4 & issue 11. 2. ISO Standards 12931 “Performance criteria for authenticationtoolsusedinanti-counterfeiting or material goods” http://www.iso.org/iso/ catalogue_detail?csnumber=52210 3. How to select a security feature, published by The Document Security Alliance and The North American Security Products Organisation. www. documentsecurityalliance.com; www.naspo.org 4. Authentication Technologies for Brand Protection report published by National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA), USA. www.nema.org 5. Hologram Manufacturers Association of India (HoMAI), www.homai.org 6. International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), www.ihma.org 7. Hologram Image Register, http://www. iccwbo.org/Products-and-Ser vices/ Fighting-Commercial-Crime/Counterfeiting- Intelligence-Bureau/Hologram-Image- Register/ 8. HIR –A unique and only image register in security industry, where hologram producers register their hologram. 9. Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB)- CIB is one of the world’s leading organisations dedicated to combating the counterfeiting of products and documents, protecting the integrity of intellectual property and brands, and preventing copyright abuse. CIB has a dedicated team of internet investigators to combat this trade. CIB also hosts the International Hologram Image Register. C S Jeena is Secretary Hologram Manufacturers Association of India, Editor The Holography Times, member of Association of Certified Fraud Examiner (ACFE) & Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Comments are welcome at cjhomai@gmail.com.

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