Desiderius Erasmus once wrote, “Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.” In our multimedia–driven society, where photographic evidence enjoys an epistemologically unique status, this observation is exceedingly ominous.
Once believed to be infallible representations of reality, digital images have faced severe loss of credibility over the years, but regardless of our skepticism towards their legitimacy and integrity, the fact remains that digital images are a highly influential and inherently believable medium of information. In the midst of these contrary influences, the only solution is to establish the authenticity and reliability of photographic data by examining its contents in a meticulous and systematic manner.
In this course, the participants will learn exactly how to do that. They will gain a comprehensive understanding of the digital image forensics domain, beginning with the fundamental principles of forensic analysis of digital images, protocols and guidelines related to collection, recovery, enhancement, analysis, and interpretation of photographic evidence, followed by practical knowledge of various video forensic investigation procedures (including both rudimentary and specialized content authentication, tamper detection, and deepfake detection solutions), all of which will help develop crucial analytical, problem–solving, and research skills. The participants will also gain a deep understanding of the current research gaps, open issues and future research avenues in the image forensics domain, which will act as a platform for further career and personal development. Altogether, this course will enable the participants to establish a strong foundation for the eventual development of a meaningful career in the tremendously exciting domain of digital image forensics.
Why this course?
Digital video forensics is a wide and multifaceted domain, with a lot of nuances and critical learning aspects. This course brings together all its varied features in a manner that remains suitable for participants of all ages and backgrounds, who have been inspired to learn either for personal or professional reasons. This is the only course of its kind, and with minimal pre–requisites, this course is not only comprehensive but also highly comprehensible.
Why take it now?
Today, we live in an ‘if–there–isn’t–a–picture–of–something–it–didn’t–happen’ sort of world, and in this era, acceptance of photographs as ‘proof ‘ comes as naturally to us as breathing. But let us not forget that while photographic evidence is highly persuasive, it is neither self–proving nor necessarily true!
Digital images are incredibly easy to manipulate these days, and since seeing is believing, it is imperative to learn how to discriminate between the “real”, the “fake”, and the “slightly distorted”. As technology advances, the line between truth and falsehood fades quickly, but by being equipped with the right tools and knowledge, one can learn to be less susceptible to deception, and gain some important career skills in the process.
Who is this course for?
We live in a world where digital images present us a ‘picture of the world’. This course is for anyone who has the desire to determine if that picture is true and accurate. Digital image forensics is an incredibly interesting and rewarding field, and whether you’re a student or a teacher, or an industry professional or a hobbyist, this course will help you gain or expand your expertise by learning useful skills that will be beneficial from both a professional as well as a personal perspective.
What skills will you gain?
Upon completion of the course, the participants will have acquired:
- A firm grounding in the digital image forensics domain.
- Complete understanding of the image forensics process, starting from the collection of data to the actual use of this data as forensic evidence.
- Practical knowledge of various image forensic investigation procedures, which will help develop crucial analytical, problem–solving, and research skills.
- A strong foundation for the eventual development of a meaningful career in the image forensics domain.
- After the completion of the course, the participants will be able to perform comprehensive analysis of digital images from an entirely forensic standpoint. They will learn to distinguish natural images from manipulated ones, and will understand how each tamper operation affects the underlying attributes of a given image. Moreover, they will be able to determine which forensic artifact works best for the revelation of which kind of tamper operation, which will in turn enable them to select the most appropriate forensic artifacts for the task at hand.
The knowledge gained from this course and the skills acquired therefrom will be apposite to researchers and practitioners, as well as forensics analysts, investigators, and expert witnesses.
In the context of this course, manipulations will include copy-paste forgeries (object insertion and object removal), upscale-crop and resampling, and deepfakes.
What will you learn about?
The course aims to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of the digital video forensics domain. The participants will gain:
- Complete understanding of the fundamental aspects of photographic evidence and the wide range of issues associated with the evidential use and forensic analysis of image evidence, including the basic principles of collection, recovery, enhancement, analysis, and interpretation of evidence, and the essential considerations related to the admissibility of photographic evidence in court.
- The knowledge (both theoretical and practical) of the methods of operation of contemporary image forensic technologies, including both rudimentary and specialized image source and content authentication techniques, and tamper detection schemes.
- Thorough understanding of the deepfake technology, how deepfakes are created, and what steps can be taken to identify such content.
- Awareness of current research gaps, open issues and future research avenues in the image forensics domain, which will act as a platform for further career and personal development.
What tools will you use?
The practical portions of the course will make use of the following tools:
- Ghiro Image Analysis Tool
- FotoForensics Online Image Analysis Tool
- Image Error Level Analyzer Tool (Forensically)
- Hash Code Analysis using in-built system commands and third-party software such as OnlineMD5, HTML5 File Hash Online Calculator, Online Tools, PElock Hash Calculator.
- Metadata Analysis using in-built system commands and third-party tools such as Any File Info, Scoop, Exif Info, MetaPicz, Metadata Viewer.
- Hex Editor Analysis using tools such as File Peek, Hex Fiend, Frhed, 0xED, Synalyze It, HexEd.it, Hex-Works, Hex Editor Neo.
- Source Camera Identification using tools and techniques based on Photo Response Non Uniformity (PRNU) noise and Sensor Pattern Noise (SPN) analysis (in MATLAB).
- Image (and Video) Manipulation Detection using the following forensic features: Optical Flow, Sensor Noise (PRNU and SPN), Color Filter Array (CFA) Artifacts, Error Level Analysis, Compression Residual Analysis.
COURSE IS SELF-PACED, AVAILABLE ON DEMAND
DURATION: 20 hours
CPE POINTS: On completion you get a certificate granting you 20 CPE points.
- Accessible even after you finish the course
- No preset deadlines
- Materials are video, labs, and text
- All videos captioned
What should you know before you join?
- Familiarity with computer image and video files.
- Familiarity with installing computer–based software from a website.
- (Very) Basic programming skills.
What will you need?
A laptop or desktop with Internet connectivity, and the desire to learn!
Module 0: Introduction to Digital Image Forensics
- Origin and History of Digital Photographs as Forensic Evidence: Detailed journey through the background of how photographs came to be the powerful form of forensic evidence they are today (including examples, illustrations, and case studies).
- Origin and History of Image Tampering: An interesting and in-depth analysis of the origin and history of image manipulation, tampering, evidence falsification (including examples and case studies).
Module 1: Digital Image Forensics
- Photographs as Legal Evidence: Current Scenario: Non-jurisdiction specific issues and concerns related to admissibility of photographic evidence in a legal setting.
- Digital Image Forensics: Methodology: Principles of forensic analysis of digital images, protocols and guidelines related to collection, recovery, enhancement, analysis, and interpretation of photographic evidence.
Module 1 exercises:
- Exercises: Participants will be asked to solve some assignments to help them get better acquainted with the concepts and ideas discussed in the module.
Module 2: Image Authentication and Tamper Detection: Part 1 (Basic)
- Image Source and Content Authentication: Source camera identification, content authentication based on analysis of timestamps, watermarks and digital signatures for digital images in various file formats, analysis of associated challenges and discussion of drawbacks of aforementioned authentication methods.
- Basic Tamper Detection: Study and practical demonstration of the following methods of forensic analysis: Hash value analysis, Hex editor analysis, Metadata analysis, and Error Level Analysis (ELA). Participants will gain mastery of all these and other related platform-independent image forensic analysis tools.
- Limitations of Basic Tamper Detection Methods: Discussion of the limitations and inadequacies of basic tamper detection methods.
Module 2 exercises:
- Exercises: Participants will be asked to solve some assignments to help them get a hands-on experience employing the tools and techniques demonstrated in the module.
Module 3: Image Authentication and Tamper Detection: Part 2 (Advanced)
- Specialized Methods of Image Tampering: Study of various methods of digital image manipulation (i.e., various kinds of forgeries such as copy paste aka splicing, object removal forgeries, upscale-crop, and resampling), and exploration of the kind of impact each of them has on the validity of the underlying content for various image file formats.
- Specialized Image Tampering Detection: Comprehensive analysis of the various digital image manipulation detection techniques that have been developed by researchers so far, including tutorials demonstrating the use of some of the most useful and practical forensic techniques.
- Research Issues and Challenges Related to Forensic Analysis of Images: Discussion of all factors, such as environmental factors, recording conditions, and man-made obstacles (malicious or benign), that negatively impact the process of digital image authentication and tamper detection.
Module 3 exercises:
- Exercises: Participants will be asked to solve some assignments that will help test the knowledge acquired from the discussions in the module and further explore some related topics.
Module 4: Deepfake Detection
- Deepfake Technology: Detailed journey through the origin and history of deepfake technology, deepfake creation processes, and an investigation into the impact of this technology with respect to the field of digital image forensics (including examples, illustrations, and case studies).
- Deepfake Detection: Thorough examination of existing deepfake detection methods, including practical demonstrations of some useful techniques.
- Future of Deepfake Technology: An enquiry into the future scope of this technology and the implications thereof from a forensic perspective.
Module 4 exercises:
- Exercises: Assignments for this module will be based on some real-life examples of deepfake technology, and will involve creation and detection of deepfakes.
Please note that all modules will be accompanied by a “Further Readings” section, enabling the participants to gain more knowledge by exploring specific topics discussed in the chapters in further detail.
She has been actively working in the Digital Video Forensics domain for over three years, and her fields of specialization include digital signal processing, digital image and video content authentication and forgery detection, and forensic analysis and interpretation of digital visual media evidence. She has participated in a number of national and international conferences, and has written several articles and research papers for magazines and scientific journals of various publishing houses including Springer, World Scientific, and Elsevier.
If you have questions, feel free to contact our course coordinator Marta at [email protected]