New Company’s First Product FourMatch Authenticates Images Instantly
SAN JOSE, CA – September 18, 2012 – Fourandsix Technologies, Inc. today introduced their first product, FourMatch, which instantly distinguishes unmodified digital camera files from those that may have been edited. Fourandsix Technologies was co-founded last year by Kevin Connor, a 15-year veteran of the Adobe Photoshop team, and Hany Farid, a pioneering scientist in image forensics. Dr. Farid’s extensive research led to the development of FourMatch software, which provides compelling evidence for the authenticity of an image, while also serving as an efficient triage step for identifying photos that may require closer scrutiny.
Solving a Critical Problem: Image Authenticity
As the former vice president of product management for Photoshop at Adobe Systems Incorporated, Fourandsix president Kevin Connor learned firsthand that the proliferation of powerful image editing tools poses a problem for those who rely on photographs as representations of truth. Increasingly, photographic evidence has been challenged in court as being unreliable. Similarly, media companies have faced embarrassment when running news photos that later were revealed to be falsified. Upon learning of Dr. Farid’s research more than a decade ago, Connor was excited by the potential to collaborate and solve these and other common problems.
“Photographic authenticity is a serious concern”, said Michelle Collins, Vice President of the Exploited Children Division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “Establishing the veracity of images allows law enforcement to focus its limited resources on investigating crimes against children on the Internet.”
FourMatch is the first of a planned suite of tools from Fourandsix for investigating image authenticity. The software leverages the fact that there is tremendous variety in the ways that hardware and software products can choose to store a JPEG file. The myriad technical choices produce a distinctive set of “signatures” from each hardware and software product. Once an image has been edited and re-saved from a software product, this signature is changed to match the software rather than the original capture device. Thus, when a file signature correctly matches a known signature from the device that captured the photo, you can be confident that the photo has not been edited. Best of all, this technique can work with any camera or mobile device and any existing JPEG-format photos. There’s no need for any extra accessories or complicated watermarking or encryption schemes.
The design of FourMatch has been informed by Dr. Farid’s consulting work in the law enforcement and publishing fields over the past decade. “FourMatch will be particularly valuable in legal proceedings, but it’s also a first step in allowing media outlets to assess the reliability of images from social media and other sources,” said Farid.
FourMatch is installed as an extension to Adobe Photoshop CS5 or CS6, and appears as a floating panel that automatically and instantly provides an assessment of any open JPEG image. A green light in the panel indicates that the file matches a verified original signature in FourMatch software’s extensive and growing database of more than 70,000 signatures. If a match is not found, the panel displays any relevant information that can aid the investigator in further assessing the photo’s reliability.
“At Adobe, even as we push the bounds of creative manipulation, we want to aid people in correctly interpreting the images they see,” said Winston Hendrickson, VP of the Creative Solutions Business at Adobe. “We’re happy to see the first of Dr. Farid’s research released as a product, and we’re gratified that it leverages the extensible architecture of Photoshop itself.”
Pricing and Availability
FourMatch software is available immediately from the Fourandsix website (www.fourandsix.com) at a price of $890, including one year of maintenance for software and database updates. Fourandsix will donate 2 percent of their proceeds from the sale of this software to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The donation will support NCMEC efforts to find missing children and prevent the abduction and sexual exploitation of children.
Fourandsix Technologies, Inc. was founded by established experts in photo manipulation and image forensics, with the mission of providing solutions that separate truth from deception in photos. As photos become an ever more pervasive means of communication in our camera-saturated world, their FourMatch software and planned subsequent products will serve the needs of the media, law enforcement, businesses, and—ultimately—consumers who find it increasingly difficult to trust the images that they see.