This thesis project explores the ways in which new printing and desktop publishing technologies can be used in the forgery and counterfeiting of security documents, and how much protection certain security features provide against the tools of electronic publishing. For the purposes of this project, a security document is defined as any document of value with built-in features meant to discourage counterfeiting and facilitate limited reproduction. Possible countermeasures used to identify and defeat forgeries are also discussed. To accomplish this, a variety of means are used such as color copiers, scanners, conventional photocopiers, and desktop publishing computers and software.

The security features looked at are on a press sheet provided by the Wicker Group, a Rochester, New York company specializing in the development of security features for both private industry and the federal government. The sheet is a mockup document that contains a number of security features that are both currently in use and in development.

Three different scanners were used in the study: the Agfa Horizon flatbed scanner, the Hewlett Packard Scanjet IIc flatbed scanner, and the Optronics Color Getter II Pro drum scanner. Three output devices were studied: the Tektronix Phaser IIIpxi, the Canon CLC 500 with Fiery RIP, and the 3M Rainbow digital proofer. The Wicker image was scanned and saved in EPS (encapsulated PostScript) and TIFF (tagged image file format) at varying scan settings. No color correction or manipulation was made to any of the scans. The images were placed into Quark XPress 3.2 and 3.3 files and output to the three printers.

In looking at the outputs, the main objective was to produce a copy that would be considered "passable;" that is, a reproduction that most likely would not pass a rigorous inspection, but would pass a cursory one. The resulting outputs showed varying degrees of resistance to the security features in the Wicker document, though passable copies were indeed produced.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Desktop publishing--Security measures; Electronic publishing--Security measures; Forgery--Prevention; Counterfeits and counterfeiting--Prevention; Computer crimes--Prevention

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type



Frank J. Cost


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at Z286.D47 P688 1994


RIT – Main Campus