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Amped Authenticate Update 15518: Customizable Reporting, CRP Comparison, Enhanced JPEG Ghost Map Filter, Check Sun Position, Improved HEIF Support, and More

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Here we are! 2020 has just begun, and we’re releasing a brand new update to Amped Authenticate. Keep reading to find out what we’ve brewed for our loyal users.

Customizable Reporting

If you’re an Amped FIVE user, you’ve probably met this long-awaited feature a few weeks ago: now it is available in Amped Authenticate as well! We’re talking about the possibility of customizing the look and structure of reports generated at the end of your work. As soon as you click on the Generate Report button (under the Tools menu), you’ll be shown this window:

You’ll see we have a new Report Template dropdown menu, which allows you to select one of the Amped-prepared templates:

It doesn’t take a wizard to guess that Legacy will produce the current report layout. If you choose Banner, you’ll get the new look shown below.

The little icons at the bottom of the Generate Report dialog allow you to create new templates, duplicate one of the available ones, rename, edit, delete and preview them. It’s all explained in Authenticate’s Program Reference Manual, available under the Help menu in the program’s top bar. We’ll soon dedicate some articles in our Tip Tuesday series to explain how you can create your own templates… so that Authenticate’s report will match your personal style!

CRP Comparison

PRNU Identification is one of the most loved filters in Authenticate. Until now, you could generate a Camera Reference Pattern (CRP) file for a device, and then test images against it to see whether they were compatible with that device’s unique sensor noise. But what if we have two sets of images, and we know that each set has the same source, but we need to assess whether the two source devices are indeed the same? For example, we may have downloaded a set of images from a Facebook profile, and we need to compare the CRP generated from those with the CRP of a bunch of images found in a person’s Whatsapp database. We know both Facebook and Whatsapp downscale and re-compress images, making the image-to-CRP matching more prone to false negatives. Now you have a simpler and more robust way of doing that! Just create a CRP from each set of images, then click on the new Compare two CRPs button, available in the PRNU Identification filter.

Here you can set the path to each CRP file, and launch the comparison.

The result will be presented in Amped Authenticate’s tabular view, which allows exporting data to HTML, TSV, Excel, etc., by simply right-clicking on the table.

Notice that, as usual, Amped Authenticate will automatically test different scales and rotations when matching the two CRPs, which is essential in the example above as Whatsapp and Facebook downsize images to different resolutions.

Enhanced JPEG Ghost Map Filter

If someone tampers with JPEG images but then converts the final result to, say, PNG, some Authenticate filters will no longer be able to analyze them, because they’re designed to work with JPEG files. This is not the case for the JPEG Ghosts Map filter since it has the desirable capability of looking for JPEG-related traces of manipulation even on images that have been re-encoded to a different format.

Unfortunately, this filter may occasionally generate noisy maps or false alarms. We’ve been working on improving the way the filter works in order to provide more accurate maps, and we’ve implemented a “self-censoring” system that will generate empty (completely green) maps when unfavorable conditions are detected. You can choose whether to use our new implementation of the filter by setting the new Simplified Model parameter. When you set it to “Yes“, you’ll be using the new version of the algorithm. Below you can see a case where using the simplified model provides a better map.

And this is an example where an original image is examined: we see that self-censoring functionality enabled by the Simplified Model avoids the creation of a noisy map that could cause a false-positive classification.

Given its lower false-alarm rate, this configuration of the filter has replaced the previous one in the Smart Report selection of algorithms, so that tool will benefit from this update as well!

New Tool: Check Sun Position for Image Location and Date on Suncalc.org

As we explained in a Tip Tuesday, the location and time metadata stored in images can be valuable, but also easy to tamper with. A clever analyst may choose to check whether the outdoor lighting conditions are consistent with the time and place declared in the image’s metadata. In the tip, we suggested going to websites like suncalc.org, which shows the Sun position over a map for the selected date and time. Unfortunately, GPS coordinates need to be converted to decimal values, which can be a bit tricky and error-prone… so we’ve made things even easier for you! What about a single click to do it all?

When GPS position and time information are available, just click on this new tool and you’ll be brought to the properly configured page! Internet connection is required, of course.

Improved HEIF Support

The High-Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) is steadily spreading around. Most recent smartphones capture images in this format and possibly convert them to JPEG when you decide to share them. For this reason, we’re investing our energy in providing support for this new format. One of the features of the HEIF container is that it can store multiple primary images (e.g., a “collection” of images), each of which may have one or more thumbnails. When such a “multi-fold” file is loaded, Authenticate will warn the user and load the image marked as “main” in the file container.

We’ve added a tool called Extract Embedded Images From HEIF File under the Tools menu which allows decoding and saving in the bitmap (BMP) format other images stored in the HEIF file.

Bug Fixes

We’ve fixed some bugs that made user experience less-than-optimal. If you spot any issue when using Authenticate, please let us know via our support portal, so we can fix it!

  • Fixed a bug that caused Authenticate interface to start in an “extremely-minimized” fashion after shutting down the computer while the software was running;
  • Fixed a bug that occasionally made Authenticate crash when using the Search Images From Same Camera Model tool;
  • Improved PRNU Identification‘s Analyze All Images in Evidence Folder tool so that, when a corrupted image file is found, it will be marked with “Error” in the output table but processing will continue to the next valid file instead of stopping;
  • Fixed a bug that caused cached results for some filters not to be used when switching between different languages;
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Filter panel to load an unwanted set of filter configurations after running the Smart Report tool in a non-English language.

Don’t Delay – Update Today

If you have an active support plan you can update straight away by going into the menu Help>Check for Updates Online within Amped Authenticate. If you need to renew your SMS plan, please contact us or one of our authorized distributors. And remember that you can always manage your license and requests from the customer support portal.

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