Analysis of background textures in banknotes and identity documents for counterfeit detection

CVC has a new PhD on its record!


Counterfeiting and piracy are a form of theft that has been steadily growing in recent years. A counterfeit is an unauthorized reproduction of an authentic/genuine object. Banknotes and identity documents are two common objects of counterfeiting. The former is used by organized criminal groups to finance a variety of illegal activities or even to destabilize entire countries due the inflation effect. Generally, in order to run their illicit businesses, counterfeiters establish companies and bank accounts using fraudulent identity documents. The illegal activities generated by counterfeit banknotes and identity documents has a damaging effect on business, the economy and the general population. To fight against counterfeiters, governments and authorities around the globe cooperate and develop security features to protect their security documents. Many of the security features in identity documents can also be found in banknotes. In this dissertation we focus our efforts in detecting the counterfeit banknotes and identity documents by analyzing the security features at the background printing. Background areas on secure documents contain fine-line patterns and designs that are difficult to reproduce without the manufacturers cutting-edge printing equipment. Our objective is to find the loose of resolution between the genuine security document and the printed counterfeit version with a publicly available commercial printer. We first present the most complete survey to date in identity and banknote security features. The compared algorithms and systems are based on computer vision and machine learning. Then we advance to present the banknote and identity counterfeit dataset we have built and use along all this thesis. Afterwards, we evaluate and adapt algorithms in the literature for the security background texture analysis. We study this problem from the point of view of robustness, computational efficiency and applicability into a real and non-controlled industrial scenario, proposing key insights to use these algorithms. Next, within the industrial environment of this thesis, we build a complete service oriented architecture to detect counterfeit documents. The mobile application and the server framework intends to be used even by non-expert document examiners to spot counterfeits. Later, we re-frame the problem of background texture counterfeit detection as a full-reference game of spotting the differences, by alternating glimpses between a counterfeit and a genuine background using recurrent neural networks. Finally, we deal with the lack of counterfeit samples, studying different approaches based on anomaly detection.

Keywords: counterfeit, background texture, computer vision, machine learning, banknotes, identity documents.