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 user 2005-05-11 at 10:47:00 am Views: 65
  • #9678

    Inkjet alert over forged banknotes

    Fierce competition in the inkjet printer market has made digital colour
    printers so cheap and the print quality so high that a £100 printer can produce
    fake banknotes that pass for the real thing in the dim light of a bar or

    This warning comes from De La Rue, the world leader in security printing. The
    company has coined the name “digifeiters” for the new generation of
    counterfeiters spawned by ultra-cheap high-resolution inkjet printers.

    In speaking out, De La Rue has broken its traditional stony silence on
    alleged security problems. “This is very sensitive subject but we thought it was
    time to say something and make people think,” says spokesman John

    In a warning document, De La Rue tells banks and governments: “There appears
    to be little appreciation of the nature of the problem ­ and even less sense of
    urgency. The world¹s central banks are now having to deal with an increasing
    number of counterfeit banknotes, generated by colour inkjet printers.”

    Fine detail

    Commercial colour copiers that work on the xerographic principle, with
    multiple drums and coloured inks, have been available for 25 years. But they
    cost tens of thousands of pounds and since the mid-1980s their makers have
    voluntarily built in software that detects the fine detail of banknote security
    marks and stops them from being copied.

    Modern inkjet printers are often dirt cheap or are given away with PCs.
    Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark are now making “all-in-one” machines
    that combine a printer, copier, scanner and fax for around £100. And resolution
    is very high ­ at least 4800 dots per inch. Anyone can copy just about

    “These low-cost devices have completely changed the nature of
    counterfeiting,” says Mark Cricket, bank note security specialist with De La

    De La Rue has been working with computer firm Software 2000 on an
    anti-digifeiting system, which modifies printer driver software to recognise
    data patterns indicative of banknotes from many countries. But printer makers
    are showing no signs of wanting to adopt the technology.

    De La Rue thinks the printer makers may fear potentially degraded performance
    from such printers ­ as they may perhaps refuse to print similarly detailed but
    innocent items. Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark say they currently have no
    home-grown technology to stop cash copying, but would incorporate it if they