This is ‘morphing’, the computer technology that copies the victim’s photo to alter their identity to

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Border controls have recently detected a threat known as ‘resize‘, painted by Computer manipulation of passport photo and identity documents To falsify these documents and circumvent facial biometric security systems.

So-called ‘intelligent borders’ have been implemented in Spain since 2018, as recalled by the provider of identification, traceability and authentication solutions SICPA.

first biometric system It was installed that year in various controls located in different parts of the country, such as ports, airports and even highways.

This identification process integrates a range of factors ranging from: Facial and fingerprint registration For scanning of passports and consultation in national and international police databases.

This technological progress has given rise to the development of techniques aimed at Falsification of personal profiles. Among them, so-called ‘morphing’, is a computer method used by the mafia to transition between two different images, impersonate identities and overcome biometric controls.

There is an epidemic with this technology, which has led to “an increase in companies that have adopted ‘online’ registries because offices are closed, creating a more vulnerable environment for this type of attack,” remarked the director of certification. WatchGuard Technologies, Alex Cagnoni.

Thanks to ‘morphing’, criminals can travel freely through borders and customs, in addition to releasing ‘smartphones’ and entering web pages containing confidential data of their victims.

For his part, David Sancho, threat researcher and head of the Trend Micro Iberia research team, reveals that they have already been detected. Attempting to enter European borders with a tampered passport via ‘morphing’.

For his part, threat researcher and head of the Trend Micro Iberia research team, David Sancho, has revealed that attempts by ‘morphing’ to enter European borders with tampered passports have already been traced.

How is the ‘morphing’ process done?

What are the techniques used to carry out the ‘morphing’ process based on? artificial intelligence (ia) in a similar manner’deepfakes‘, who use this technique to create false content according to the molds.

He explained that the process involves “interpolating the images to create a spectrum in which each of the two initial photographs is at one vertex”.

To create this spectrum of intermediate images, a series of algorithms are used that distort the image pixel by pixel with the aim of making the final image look like it.

This is repeated until, after a series of iterations, the transition is complete and the final, clearly original and unmodified image is obtained.

The most commonly used algorithm for transitioning with two different images is bare blue, Named after two of its creators, Thad Beer and Sean Neely.

After this process is completed, an image will be generated between the original and the modified model that is “half of one and half of the other” and should, therefore, resemble “the two original photographs”, according to the person in charge of Team Research Trend Micro. Iberia.

To know which one to choose from this spectrum of photos, experts point out that there are various software programs that automate this process, such as Adobe After Effects, as well as websites such as MorphThing.

How to protect yourself from this danger

This researcher has also maintained that, if someone loses their passport or it is stolen, “the usual thing is that its owner files a complaint and thus blocks entry into a country.”

However, this measure will not be sufficient and “if the document is used for other purposes, such as false identification with bank accounts,” it will not be of much use.

In turn, this researcher believes that digital control at border posts is an aspect that different countries should take into account, in addition to visually validating the entry and exit of people across borders.

“It needs to be done electronically, not at a glance. It is a technical challenge that can cause delays at border posts,” he argued.

For his part, Cagnoni has advised victims to “make sure they provide up-to-date photographs for any new documents” to avoid falling victim to ‘morphing’.

In addition, it recommended both companies, governments and border controls “take good measures to verify identities, such as a more detailed analysis of living faces or a more accurate analysis of face geometry”.

In this sense, he also sees the need to implement two-factor authentication. On the one hand, facial biometrics and on the other hand, a confirmation message is sent to the user’s mobile phone. “If one factor is compromised, there is still another to check,” he assured.

new forms of security

To strengthen the security and integrity of citizens, SICPA experts have developed a system that takes the original picture of an identity document (DNI, passport or card) and converts it into a ‘visual hash’.

This 20-byte encrypted code integrates a series of cryptographic algorithms that form a Secure QR Code.

This process is able to prevent subsequent falsification because it is a unidirectional process, as the QR cannot move to the other side and become the original picture.

The firm, specializing in security solutions, highlights that the size of its process also facilitates the exchange of information between countries. ‘view hash’.

Similarly, he has assured that biometric verification processes at the border controls of various states can be accelerated thanks to this method.

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