Digital Visual Media Forensics:
Lessons in Anti–Forensics and Counter Anti–Forensics
This course is dedicated to the comprehensive examination of all aspects of the domains of image and video anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics. The participants will gain a deep understanding of these highly consequential research domains, beginning with an introduction to the field of digital image and video forensics, the known kinds of image and video forgeries, the existing literature pertaining to the developments in the domain of forgery detection, and the various issues and challenges that complicate the task of forensic analysis of digital images and videos and impose restrictions on the extent of success of contemporary forensic solutions in heterogeneous real–world situations. The participants will learn about the process of forensic analysis of video evidence, including integrity verification, source authentication, and content authentication. The participants will also learn about the origin and history of deepfakes and take some time to examine some famous fake videos posted on YouTube. This will be an enjoyable exercise for the participants and will also enable them be more critical of the content we have become so accustomed to consume and inherently believe in our daily lives. This discussion will be followed by a detailed analysis of existing image and video anti–forensic and counter anti–forensic strategies, and will be concluded with an examination of the current research gaps, open issue and future research avenues in this domain. Altogether, this course will enable the participants to establish a strong foundation for personal growth and the eventual development of a meaningful career in the tremendously exciting domain of digital visual media forensics.
Course duration: 18 hours (18 CPE points awarded on completion)
What will you learn?
The course aims to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of the domain of digital visual media forensics, anti–forensics, and counter anti–forensics. The participants will gain:
- Thorough understanding of the basic concepts of digital image and video forensics, the various kinds of forgeries images and videos are known to suffer from, and the fundamental principles employed during visual media integrity verification, content authentication, source authentication, and tamper detection.
- Familiarity with the current state of affairs in the domain of image and video content authentication and forgery detection.
- Awareness of various issues and challenges that complicate the task of forensic analysis of digital images and videos and impose restrictions on the extent of success of contemporary forensic solutions in real–world situations.
- Deeper knowledge of the history and origin of deepfakes and practical experience of invalidating some viral YouTube videos.
- A comprehensive understanding of the concept of anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics, and the methods of operation of contemporary image and video anti–forensic and counter anti–forensic solutions.
- Cognizance of the various aspects of the fields of digital visual media forensics, anti–forensics, and counter anti–forensics, all of which will help the participants develop an eye for detail, and will bring about a deeper appreciation for this field as well as an awareness of all the interesting career opportunities it provides.
What skills will you gain?
Upon completion of the course, the participants will have acquired:
- Firm grounding in the digital visual media forensic, anti–forensic, and counter anti–forensic domains.
- Practical knowledge of various aspects of image and video forensic, anti–forensic, and counter anti–forensic tools and techniques, which will help develop crucial analytical, problem–solving, and research skills, along with a much desired eye for detail.
- Deeper understanding of the various issues and challenges that complicate the task of forensic analysis of digital images and videos, and impose restrictions on the level of success of contemporary forensic solutions in real–world situations.
- A strong foundation for the eventual development of a meaningful career in the image and video forensics domain.
After the completion of the course, the participants will gain a deep understanding of the digital visual media forensic, anti–forensics, and counter anti–forensic domains. They will be able to distinguish authentic images and videos from manipulated ones and understand what kinds of artifacts various content manipulation operations leave behind. Moreover, they will be able to determine which forensic artifact works best for the revelation of which kind of manipulation operation, which will in turn enable them to select the most appropriate forensic artifacts for the task at hand. The participants will also learn about the caveats of existing forensic solutions and the various challenges offered by real–world forensic scenarios that limit the scopes of applicability as well as potency of the available solutions. This knowledge is crucial since it will enable the participants to develop a clear perspective on what kind of results can be expected outside of a laboratory setting. Knowledge about innovations in the fields of anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics will be beneficial from a long–term perspective: it is always a good idea for a forensic analyst to stay two steps ahead of the forger.
The knowledge gained from this course and the skills acquired therefrom will be apposite to researchers and practitioners, as well as forensics analysts and hobbyists.
What will you need?
- Laptop or desktop with Internet connectivity
- Familiarity with computer image and video files
- Familiarity with fundamental concepts of digital images and videos, including digital image and video acquisition process concepts of frame–rate, bit–rate, resolution, and visual quality basic image and video processing operations such as noise reduction (filtering) and compression visual distortions or artifacts exhibited by digital images and videos, such as block boundary artifacts, flickering, motion artifacts, and noise artifacts
- Familiarity with installing computer based software from a website
- Basic programming skills (desired but not essential)
Raahat Devender Singh is a PhD research scholar and a guest lecturer working in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in University Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Forensics Department in Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. 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.
Module 1: Introduction to Digital Visual Media Forensics
This module covers the fundamentals of digital image and video forensics. Coverage includes an overview of the origin and history of photographic and video evidence, rules governing the admissibility of digital images and videos as evidence, and the process of forensic analysis of image and video evidence. Various kinds of tampering attacks that are known to affect the integrity of digital images and videos are also discussed, along with the basic concepts related to digital visual media integrity verification, source authentication, content authentication, and tamper detection. Discussion also includes thorough analysis of the existing literature in the domain of digital visual media forgery detection, as well as examination of various open research issues and challenges that complicate the task of forensic analysis of digital images and videos.
Module 1 Covered Topics:
- Introduction to digital image and video forensics.
- Overview of the process of forensic analysis of digital images and videos.
- Introduction to digital visual media integrity verification, content authentication, and source authentication.
- Overview of known kinds of image and video forgeries.
- Analysis of existing image and video tamper detection techniques.
- Discussion of various open research issues and challenges.
Module 1 Exercises
- Knowledge test (consisting of true or false type questions, fill in the blanks, multiple choice and reverse multiple choice questions, and crossword puzzles)
- Scenario–based exercise
Module 2: Deepfakes and Other Fake Videos
Coverage of this module includes a detailed journey through the origin and history of deepfakes and systematic examination of some famous (and fake) YouTube videos.
Module 2 Covered Topics
- Introduction to the history and origin of deepfakes.
- Analysis of some famous (and fake) YouTube videos.
Module 2 Exercises
- Mini case studies
- Practical exercises
Module 3: Introduction to Image and Video Anti–Forensics and Counter Anti–Forensics
This module is dedicated to the detailed exploration of the fields of image and video anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics. Discussion will begin with an analysis of the fundamental concepts of visual media anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics, and will be followed by a comprehensive examination of the existing literature detailing the innovations in these fields.
Module 3 Covered Topics:
- Introduction to the concepts of anti–forensics and counter anti–forensics.
- Analysis of existing image anti–forensic and counter anti–forensic approaches.
- Analysis of existing video anti–forensic and counter anti–forensic approaches.
- Discussion of open research issues and challenges.
Module 3 Exercises
- Knowledge test
- Mini–case study
- Practical exercises
- The course is self-paced – you can visit the training whenever you want and your content will be there.
- Once you’re in, you keep access forever, even when you finish the course.
- There are no deadlines, except for the ones you set for yourself.
- We designed the course so that a diligent student will need about 18 hours of work to complete the training.
- The course contains video and text materials, accompanied by practical labs and exercises.
If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].
jimhoerricks (verified owner) –
Having just finished the course and received my certificate, I want to post an honest review of the user experience (UX). By way of disclosure, I’ve been working in the field since 2002 and have received my authentication education and training from the US government as well as the vendors whose tools I use. I was curious about this course from the standpoint of variety and continuing education.
Pros (4 stars). The 4 star score is largely due to the fact that I’m both a long-time practitioner as well as a PhD with university research library access who loves to be turned loose on reading and research.
1. The “instructor” is obviously a knowledgable and talented researcher. The modules are filled with her insights on much of the research that is available on this complex topic.
2. If you’re are a self-directed learner, you’ll get a lot out of the readings. Yes, the course is predominantly text based. There are just a few videos that briefly illustrates examples, operationalizing the lesson in MATLAB as an overview.
3. The references are listed for each module such that you can search / find them rather easily. This presupposes that you have research library access. As permanent university faculty, I do. If you don’t, this becomes a con as publishing houses often charge $40/paper or more.
Cons (2 stars). The opinions here are based mostly on the dismal LMS (would give negative stars for the the UX) balanced by the attentive personnel involved in course administration and the positive experience with the staff.
1. It is quite obvious that this course was designed by the instructor, a researcher. Along that line, having some familiarity with the instructor as a researcher, much of the text in his course is lifted directly from her published work. As such, the course lacks coherent design and follows none of the norms of curriculum / instructional design. If you know what to look for, you can tease out learning objectives for each module. But, the exercise and exam questions aren’t tied to the objectives. It’s also quite obvious that whomever wrote the test / assignment questions and proposed answers is not an instructional designer. Novice learners will struggle with the exams.
2. On-boarding the learner doesn’t happen. If you know to set up your account and figure out how to navigate around, good for you. Some will find it clumsy. Most will be maddened by the lack of intuitiveness to the LMS.
3. Help is available from the course’s manager. There is no FAQ as such. The course admin works in Central European Time and has regular days off. As such, responses to questions may be delayed, sometimes more than a day. Thus, “at your own pace” becomes a bit longer if you need help.
4. Nowhere can you find what is necessary to complete the course and get your certificate. You might think that working through the course, getting 80% or better on the assignments and quizzes would be combined into a passing score equal to 80% of the total 135 marks total for the course. You might assume 75% is passing, or even 90%. You would be wrong. If you don’t earn 10/11 on the final quiz, you can’t pass this course.
5. The final quiz, the summative assessment, is a maddening experience enabled by a small question pool filled with badly worded questions. Learners get 2 attempts at the test. There are 11 questions presented and you’ll get 12 minutes to complete the exam. The UI for the test splits the questions across two pages, but doesn’t make that obvious. The small navigation buttons aren’t labeled as such and take a bit to find, which takes some of your time. If you decide to tackle the test by answering the “easy questions” first, then save your progress, then finish by answering the tougher questions, please know that the progress saving time can eat up to a minute of your available time. If you save your progress multiple times, you’ll lose minutes. You might think that a minute per question would be enough. It’s not. The questions are poorly worded. They are, in some cases, deliberately confusing. Some use double negatives. If you’re not a native English speaker, you will struggle. They are also not tied to any learning outcomes. Thus, they seem more like trivia questions that valid assessments of the learner’s knowledge. There are roughly 50 separate sections in the course, many of which are quite heavy in text and conceptual information. Pulling 11 questions of trivia out of all of that text isn’t at all fair to the learner. who is likely an mid-career adult with a brain full of their usual daily stuff – having no room to store 50 sections worth of info so as to recall random bits of trivia for the test.
6. I was hoping for some interaction with the instructor; some comments on the written assignments that I submitted perhaps. Assignments / exams were scored. No comments received. The course seems on autopilot.
7. The context for much of the legal discussion tends towards the generic international. From a US standpoint, some of the advice will apply at the federal level or in Daubert states. But the curriculum doesn’t acknowledge the multi-faceted and complex nature of the US legal context.
8. As noted above, much of the cited research is behind a massive paywall. Even with my university access, there were papers that I wasn’t able to retrieve as the sources were rather obscure. The research is largely from China and India, thus a US university research library might not have ready access. In a few cases, access to the papers were blocked by the library as the publishers were listed as “predatory” or “fake” publishing houses.
9. The course is very esoteric. If you’re hoping to get tips / tricks on using a specific tool, or hoping to find insight on techniques to help with a case you’ll be sadly disappointed. There is no operationalization in this course. As an experienced MATLAB user, I can see the very brief video example of a result and intuit how the project was constructed – then turn it into practice on my workstation. If you’re not at that level, or you don’t have MATLAB, you’ll get no practical experience from this course.
Bottom line, if you like the esoteric approach, are a strong self-directed learner, are an experienced MATLAB user, and have university library access you’ll likely enjoy this course. If you aren’t, you won’t.