Amped Authenticate Update 9446: CameraForensics Integration, New Quantization Tables Database and Much More

We’ve just launched some pretty important additions to Amped Authenticate. Not only have we integrated it with CameraForensics, but we have also made some major improvements to the quantization tables in addition to many other internal improvements. Read below for the details.

CameraForensics Integration

The main purpose of Amped Authenticate is to verify if a picture is an original coming from a specific device or if it’s the result of manipulation using image editing software. One of the main tests to verify the file integrity is to acquire the camera that is assumed to be the one that has generated the photo (or at least the same model) and verify if the format is compatible with the file under analysis.

While this sounds easy in practice, many devices have so many different settings and because of this it can be challenging to recreate the same conditions. Furthermore, the camera is often not available.

What if we look on the web for pictures coming from a specific device? While we cannot, in general, guarantee the integrity of files downloaded from the web, we can triage them pretty easily and do a comparison with the image under analysis.

But how do you search for images on the web in an efficient manner? We have had “Search for Images from Same Camera Model…” in Authenticate for quite some time. It allows you to search on Google Images and Flickr, but the search is not always optimal, as it has to apply different workarounds to work efficiently in a forensic setting.

So, what if someone built a database of pictures on the web, optimized for investigative use, enabling you to instantly search for images coming from a specific device and with specific features such as resolution and JPEG quantization tables? Turns out the guys at CameraForensics did exactly this (and much more) and we partnered with them to provide a streamlined experience.

Let’s see how it works. Continue reading

Axon Accelerate Conference: Intro to Axon Forensic Suite

The Axon Accelerate Conference is on! Attend this two-day event to learn how to deploy the cutting-edge technologies available to you on the Axon platform, network with other law enforcement professionals, and help design the new devices and apps that let you focus on what really matters.

From June 20-21, 2017 you can attend numerous breakout session and choose the ones that are most relevant and important to you. Sessions cover topics on policy, products, security, Force Science, hardware, futures, media training, and so much more.

Join Jim Hoerricks, Director of Customer Support and Training, Amped Software Inc., for the INTRO TO AXON FORENSICS breakout session on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017 from 11:00 AM-11:45 AM. 

This session will illustrate the many workflows that are possible with the Axon Forensic Suite of products (powered by Amped Software), both as standalone tools and together with The Axon Forensic Suite includes tools for the conversion of proprietary file types to standard formats (Axon Convert/Amped DVRConv), the restoration / clarification / analysis of images and video (Axon Five/ Amped FIVE), and the authentication
of images prior to their use in case work and court (Axon Detect/Amped Authenticate).

Click here for more info:

Understanding how online services change images

During a recent workshop on image authentication, I ran a few practical sessions. One concentrated on the changes that online services and social media platforms make to the images that we upload. It turned out to be an interesting experiment that has had some structured research over the past few years.

These are excellent starting resources when developing any internal Standard Operating Procedure:

A Classification Engine for Image Ballistics of Social Data:

A Forensic Analysis of Images on Online Social Networks:

Why is this important?

Continue reading

The Flexibility of the Add Text Filter

If you’ve wondered at the filters in the Extract Filter group and asked yourself, what are these for, you’re not alone. Depending on your specific use case with Amped FIVE, there are likely a few filters for which you have no use in your current context. Others, you may use in a very specific way each time – but others may use them differently.

Thus it is that I encountered a request for a feature that’s been in Amped FIVE for quite some time. I’ve responded to the request with details on how to accomplish the task. Now, I’ll expand on the question and share a more detailed look at an often overlooked filter – Add Text. (click on the images to see the full-res versions)

Continue reading

Changing a Video’s Frame Rate

The pace of change here at Amped Software is brisk. Each big update to our software brings new filters and updates based on user feedback and requests. Thus, it can be hard to keep track of what’s new and improved as time moves on.

In a recent conversation with a brand new customer, they noted that one of their pain points in using their old tools was changing frame rates. They’d get a request to slow things down and their tool would make the video look like a scene from a ghost movie. The results just didn’t look realistic – nor was the work handled in a scientific way.

I mentioned that Amped FIVE has the ability to change the frame rate of videos. It does so in an intelligent/scientific way. This functionality was added over two and a half years ago. Here’s the announcement from 2014.

Change frame rate in a videoThere are a number of reasons why one would want to change the frame rate of a video, beyond the usual trial-prep functions of “slowing things down.” Most of the reasons center on the quality of the encoding and the file’s having correct frame rate information within the header.

What you don’t want to have happen is to add/subtract frames when you change the frame rate. With Presentation > Change Frame Rate, no frames are added or removed. The playback rate is changed. That’s all – but that’s huge. If you have a file with 1500 frames and the time/date stamp shows that from start to finish, 5 minutes elapse, then you need a playback rate that tracks with the number of frames/time. What you don’t want is added frames. Amped FIVE’s Change Frame Rate is the answer.

5 minutes = 300 seconds. 1500 frames/300 seconds = 5 frames per second. Just click on Presentation > Change Frame Rate and choose 5 (or choose the value based on your file’s properties). Your video is now set to play back at 5 frames per second. When you write out the video file, it will be written out to play at 5 frames per second.

Simple things should be easy, and fast. With Amped FIVE, they are.

If you’d like more information about our products or training options, contact us for more information.

Are Amped Software products validated or certified officially for forensic use?

We work in the field of forensic video analysis, which is generally intended as the analysis of the images themselves and their context in a legal setting. For this reason, our customers often ask us if our products are valid for court use and if they have been validated and certified. We have written this post as an answer to the most common questions related to this topic.

You can also download this as a PDF document here

What are the scientific foundations of Amped Software products?

All the processes implemented in our software follow the principles of scientific methodology. Any process follows these basic principles:

  1. Accuracy (Reliability): our tools and training program help users avoid processing errors caused by the implementation of an inappropriate tool or workflow and help mitigate the impact of human factors / bias.
  2. Repeatability: the same process, executed by the same user at a different time, must lead to the same result. The project format in Amped FIVE, for example, does not save any image data. Every time a project is reopened, all the processing happens again starting from the original data. In the event that a project file is lost or as a part of a validation or other test scenario, the same user can repeat the steps and settings, guided by the tool’s report, and achieve the same results.
  3. Reproducibility: another user with the proper competency, should be able to reproduce the same results. Amped FIVE generates a complete report detailing all the steps of the processing, the settings / parameters applied, a description of the algorithms employed in the processing and the scientific references for those algorithms (when applicable). In this way, another user, with a different tool set or by implementing the same algorithms, should be able to reproduce the same results. Given the huge number of implementation details and possible differences, it is not expected to produce a bit by bit copy of the results, but only to produce an image of similar informative content.

Additionally, we apply strict due diligence on the applicability of the algorithms for the forensic environment. Not every algorithm is, in fact, properly applicable in a forensic science setting. We cannot use algorithms which have a random component because they would not be reproducible and repeatable (when we do, we set a fixed seed for the random number generation) and we cannot use algorithms which “add” external data to the original, for example improving the quality of a face with information added from an average face. All information is derived from the actual evidence file.

We employ algorithms which have been validated by the scientific community through peer review, such as university textbooks, scientific publications, or conference papers. If for some specific task, there are not good enough algorithms available or we need to adapt existing algorithms, we describe the algorithm and attempt to publish them in scientific journals. Continue reading

Interview with Marco Fontani, Forensics Consultant, FORLAB

This is the first in a series of interviews with a number of our users that will share their story. If you are interested in being profiled, let us know. We would love to hear from you!

In this first post, we speak with Marco Fontani from FORLAB, one of the main laboratories in Italy specialized in image and video forensics. We started working together in the European project MAVEN and since then, we cooperate with FORLAB on several fronts, including the technology transfer from the world of research into practical applications.

Marco, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role at FORLAB?

My background is mostly in academics. I have a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering and a PhD degree in Information Engineering and Sciences. I’ve authored and co-authored several publications on novel image, video and audio forensic algorithms. My current role at FORLAB includes a mix of consultancy and training plus some research activity (mostly carried out by following master/PhD students).

What made you decide to enter the field of multimedia forensics?

I’ve always been interested in multimedia security because multimedia content is much too easily trusted/relied upon. When I began my PhD in 2010, an important research project funded by the European Commission (REWIND project) was about to start, and I joined the research group of professor Barni to take part in this project. After the PhD, I thought it would be interesting to put my studies to work in practical cases. Hence I, together with other colleagues, pushed the growth of FORLAB, where the scientific and technological innovative results are transferred to the real needs of the forensic environment.

What would you say are the biggest challenges with multimedia digital evidence and investigating crimes?

In the age of terrorism, I believe the main challenges are related to: a) analysis and interpretation of massive data (e.g. images/videos shared through social networks, but also video surveillance footage captured by cameras spread in a city); b) poor quality of CCTV cameras, that makes recording useless in so many cases. Continue reading

CSI effect: the role of a forensic video analyst is a little more than just special Hollywood effects

“Often seen but rarely understood, the role of a forensic video analyst is a little more than just special effects”. David Spreadborough, Amped’s International Trainer and Forensic Video Analyst, explains what forensic video analysis actually entails.

Read the full article published in Safety & Security International magazine

Police Oracle interviews Amped to discuss how imaging software can help growing ‘question’ of authenticity

David Spreadborough, Amped’s international trainer and ex-officer at Cheshire Police for 24 years, tells Police Oracle how Amped Authenticate is designed to help law enforcement underpin the veracity of images submitted to them externally, allowing officers to apply the appropriate level of ‘weight’ to evidence.

Read the article on Police Oracle or click here.