In many areas of daily life, paper- or card- based tickets are commonly used (e.g. for public transport, events, access control….). The assembly and distribution of falsifications of such media as well as of legal documents are a very common problem. In the past the forgery of tickets has been conducted primarily by single persons through simple copying the original media. The quantity of produced falsifications has been rather low. Nowadays most of the criminal cases are conducted by perfectly organized groups obtaining original ticketing paper (which already incorporates all security features) via theft or fraud actions. Thus it is possible for them to assemble highly valuable tickets by simple thermo-printers and sell them through various distribution channels at high prices. A single stolen spool of a traffic company’s ticketing paper can thus be used to produce falsifications for more than 10.000€ equivalent value. It is well known by the police, that most of the thefts are committed by highly organized, international and criminal groups. As the tickets show a high equivalent value, can be easily distributed and are rarely discovered as falsifications or fakes, it is a safe and lucrative “business case” for organized crime affecting the whole society by a losses amounting to millions of euro per year.
The project’s main idea is the development of an integrated system, which allows for simple and efficient discovery of falsifications. Thus the theft of pre-printed original ticket paper turns into unattractive action.
The original paper consists of media-embedded, markers. The stochastic distribution of marker pigments is a random, not reproducible token or “fingerprint” for each ticket. This unique attribute as well as additional personalization or other relevant information (e.g. initial and final destination, date, etc.) is encrypted, and will be printed as a multi-dimension barcode on the tickets surface (e.g. via thermo-printers). Later, the barcode as well as the stochastic arrangement of marker pigments can be detected by an integrated optical sensor system. The ticket is verified as a “valid” one, only if the barcode-information about the “expected” stochastic arrangement of markers matches the detected one. The (encrypted) encoding of the unique attribute (fingerprint) allows for an effective offline verification of the ticket although the mobile verification device (reader) has no connection to a central database (server).
So in summary it can be stated, that this combination of ticket information, stochastic arrangement of marker-pigments and the encryption of the information in a multi-dimensional barcode is a very efficient and secure falsification prevention method.
AT Project leader:
Dr. Stefan Köstler
JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
MATERIALS - Institut für Oberflächentechnologien und Photonik
A-8160 Weiz (AUSTRIA)
DE Project leader:
Fraunhofer Institut für Physikalische Messtechnik (IPM)