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The EURion constellation is made up of five rings.

The EURion constellation is a pattern of symbols found on a number of banknote designs since about 1996. It is added to help software detect the presence of a banknote in a digital image. Such software can then block the user from reproducing banknotes to prevent counterfeiting using colour photocopiers.

Contents

Description

On the former Elgar Bank of England £20 the EURion constellation appears as "musical notes".

The name "EURion constellation" was coined by Markus Kuhn, who uncovered the pattern in early 2002 while experimenting with a Xerox colour photocopier that refused to reproduce banknotes.[1] The word is a blend of Orion, a constellation of similar shape, and EUR, the euro's ISO 4217 designation.

The EURion constellation first described by Kuhn consists of a pattern of five small yellow, green or orange circles, which is repeated across areas of the banknote at different orientations. The mere presence of five of these circles on a page is sufficient for some colour photocopiers to refuse processing. Andrew Steer later noted simple integer ratios between the squared distances of nearby circles, which gives further clues as to how the pattern is meant to be detected efficiently by image-processing software.

The EURion constellation is most prominent and was therefore first recognised on the 10 euro banknote.

Some banks integrate the constellation tightly with the remaining design of the note. On German banknotes, the EURion circles formed the innermost circles in a background pattern of fine concentric circles. On the front of former Bank of England Elgar £20 notes, they appear as green heads of musical notes, however on the Smith £20 notes of 2007 the circles merely cluster around the '£20' text. On some U.S. bills, they appear as the digit zero in small, yellow numbers matching the value of the note.

Technical details regarding the EURion constellation are kept secret by its inventors and users. A patent application[2] suggests that the pattern and detection algorithm were designed at OMRON Corporation, a Japanese electronics company. It is also not clear whether the feature has any official name. The term "Omron anti-photocopying feature" appeared in an August 2005 press release by the Reserve Bank of India.[3] The term "Omron rings" appeared in January 2006 in the German Wikipedia,[4] and was later picked up in an award announcement by a banknote collectors society.[5]

The EURion constellations lined in blue on a US $20 bill.

Usage

The following table lists the banknotes on which the EURion constellation has been found so far:

Currency Notes with EURion constellation Notes without EURion
Armenian dram 1000 dram (2001), 5000 dram (2003), 10000 dram (2003) 20000 and commemorative 50000 dram
Aruban florin All (2003)
Austrian schilling 500 and 1000 schilling (1997) 20, 50, 100, and 5000 schilling
Australian dollar Commemorative $5 (2001) Regular banknotes
Belgian franc 500 francs (1998), 1000 francs (1997), 10000 francs (1997) 100, 200, and 2000 francs
British pound (sterling) Bank of England £5 (2002), £10 (2000), £20 (1999 & 2007) £50 (not yet upgraded)
Bulgarian lev All (1999)
Canadian dollar All (2001)
CFA franc All (both West African and Central African, 2003)
Chinese yuan ¥1 (2004), 2005 revision of ¥5 and above
Comorian franc 500 (2006), 1000 and 2000 francs (2005) 2500, 5000, and 10000 francs
Croatian kuna 5, 10, 20 kuna (2001), 50, 100, and 200 kuna (2002) 500 and 1000 kuna
Czech koruna 2000 (2007), 1000 (2008) 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000
Danish krone All (1997, 2002 and 2009 series)
Djiboutian franc 1000 francs (2005) 2000, 5000, and 10000 francs
Dutch gulden 10 gulden (1997) 25, 50, 100, 250, 1000 gulden
Egyptian pound LE 5 (2002), LE 10 (2003), LE 20 (2001), LE 50 (2001), LE 100 (2000) 25 piastres, 50 piastres, LE 1
Euro All (2002)
Faroese króna All (2001)
French franc 100 francs (1997) 50, 200, and 500 francs
German mark 50, 100, 200 mark (1996-2002) 5, 10, 20, 500, 1000 mark
Hungarian forint All (2009) except the 200 HUF note (currently being replaced with a coin) 200 forint
Indian rupee 50 (2006), 100 (2005), 500 (2000) rupees (both 2nd edition), 1000 rupees (2000) 5, 10, 20, 50 rupees (Before 2006), 1st edition of 100 (1996) and 500 (1997) rupees
Japanese yen Commemorative ¥2000 (series D, 2000), series E (2004)
Malagasy ariary 100, 200, 500, 1000 ariary (2004) 2000, 5000, 10000 ariary
Mexican peso $1000 (2004-2008), $50 (2006), $20 (2007), $200 (2008) $20 (2002-2007), $50 (1996-2006), $100, $200 (1996-2008), $500
Moroccan dirham All (2002)
Netherlands Antillean gulden 10, 25, 50, 100 gulden (1998) 250 gulden (1986)
Norwegian krone All (1999)
Romanian leu All (2005)
Singapore dollar All (1999)
South African rand All (2005)
South Korean won All (2006/2007)
Slovak koruna SKK 200, SKK 500, SKK 1000 SKK 100, SKK 50, SKK 20
Swedish krona Kr 50 (2006), Kr 100 (2001), Kr 500 (2001), Kr 1000 (2006) Kr 20
Thai baht ฿100, ฿1000 ฿20, ฿50, ฿500
Tunisian dinar 10 dinars (2005) 5, 20, and commemorative 30 dinars
Turkish lira 20000000 TL (2001), 2005 and 2009 series
United States dollar $5 (Series 2006), $10 (Series 2004A), $20 (Series 2004), $50 (Series 2004) $1, $2, $100

Other banknote detection mechanisms

Example of CDS anti-counterfeit measures operating on image editing software.

Users of recent versions of image editors, such as Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, discovered that these also refuse to print banknotes. According to Wired.com, the banknote detection code in these applications, called the Counterfeit Deterrence System (CDS), was designed by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group and supplied to companies such as Adobe as a binary module.[6] However, experiments by Steven J. Murdoch and others showed that this banknote detection code does not rely on the EURion pattern.[7] It instead detects a digital watermark embedded in the images, developed by Digimarc.[8]

See also

  • Printer steganography, used by color laser printers to add hidden encoded information to printouts
  • Coded Anti-Piracy, an anti-copyright infringement technology which marks each film print of a motion picture with a distinguishing patterns of dots, used as a forensic identifier to identify the source of illegal copies

References

  1. ^ Markus Kuhn: The EURion constellation. Security Group presentation, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 8 February 2002.
  2. ^ Mitsutaka Katoh, et al.: Image processing device and method for identifying an input image, and copier scanner and printer including same. OMRON Corporation, U.S. Patent 5,845,008.
  3. ^ Issue of Rs.50 denomination banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi Series with additional/new security features without inset letter in numbering panel bearing the signature of Dr. Y. V. Reddy, Governor, Press Release: 2005-2006/245, G. Raghuraj, Deputy General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, 24 August 2005
  4. ^ EURion-Konstellation, edit by Androl, 2006-01-04 13:00
  5. ^ 2007 Bank Note of the Year award: 1,000-franc note from Comoros. International Bank Note Society, 15 October 2007.
  6. ^ Ulbrich, Chris, "Currency Detector Easy to Defeat, 2004-01-14.
  7. ^ Steven J. Murdoch: Software Detection of Currency, 2004.
  8. ^ Digimarc: SEC Filing, Form S-1/A, Exhibit 10.9, Counterfeit Deterrence System Development and License Agreement, 1999-11-24.

External links

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