EURion constellation

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The EURion constellation is made up of five rings.

The EURion constellation is a pattern of symbols incorporated into a number of banknote designs worldwide since about 1996. It is added to help imaging 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. Research shows that the EURion constellation is used for color photocopiers and is likely not used for computer software.[1]

Description[edit]

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.[2] The word is a portmanteau of EUR, the euro's ISO 4217 designation, and Orion, a constellation of similar shape.

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.[citation needed]

The EURion constellation is most prominent, and was therefore first recognised, on the 10 Euro (€10) banknote.

Some banks integrate the constellation tightly with the remaining design of the note. On 50 DM 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. On Japanese Yen, these circles sometimes appear as flowers.

Technical details regarding the EURion constellation are kept secret by its inventors and users. A patent application[3] 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.[4] In 2007 it was picked up in an award announcement by a banknote collectors society.[5]

Usage[edit]

The following table lists the banknotes on which the EURion constellation has been found so far. Countries where all recent banknotes use the constellation are in bold.

EURion constellations made by circular zeroes on a US $20 bill (marked in blue).
Currency Notes with EURion constellation Notes without EURion constellation
Armenian dram 1000 dram (2001 and 2011), 5000 dram (2003 and 2012), 10,000 dram (2003 and 2012), 20,000 (2007, 2009 and 2012), 100,000 dram (2009) 20,000 and commemorative 50,000 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), 10,000 francs (1997) 100, 200, and 2000 francs
British pound (sterling) Bank of England £5 (2002), £10 (2000) as yellow dots on the watermark, £20 (1999 & 2007), £50 (2011) £50 (old issue)
Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark 200 convertible marka (2002), All (2012) 50 feninga, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 convertible marka
Bulgarian lev All (1999)
Canadian dollar Banknotes in the Canadian Journey Series (2001–2006) and Frontier Series (2011–2013)
CFA franc All (both West African and Central African, 2003)
Chilean peso 1000 (2011) 2000 (2010) 5000 (2009), 10,000 (2010), 20,000 (2010) 1000 and 2000 pesos (old version)
Chinese yuan ¥1 (2004), 2005 revision of ¥5 and above
Comorian franc All (2005–2006) 2500 francs
Croatian kuna 5, 10, 20 kuna (2001), 50, 100, and 200 kuna (2002) 500 and 1000 kuna
Czech koruna 2000 (2007), 1000 (2008), 500 (2009), 5000 (2009) 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000
Danish krone All (1997, 2002 and 2009 series)
Djiboutian franc 1000 francs (2005), 2000 francs (2008), 10,000 francs (2009) 2000, 5000, and 10,000 francs (National Bank of Djibouti issue)
Dutch guilder 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), LE 200 (2007) 25 piastres, 50 piastres, LE 1
Euro All (2002), 5 Euro (2013), 10 Euro (2014)
Faroese króna All (2001 and 2011)
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 (2010)
Indian rupee 50 (2006), 100 (2005) and 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
Indonesian rupiah Rp10,000 (2010); Rp20,000, Rp50,000 and Rp 100,000 (2011) Rp1000, Rp2000, Rp5000; Rp 10,000 (issued before 21-Jul-2010); Rp 20,000, Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 (issued before 31-Oct-2011)
Japanese yen Commemorative ¥2000 (series D, 2000), series E (2004)
Kyrgyzstani som All (2009–2010)
Kuwaiti dinar All (2014)
Macanese pataca Banco Da China: All (8.12.2003)
Malagasy ariary 100, 200, 500, 1000 (2004), 2000, 5000, 10,000 (2008) 2000, 5000, 10,000 ariary
Mexican peso All (2006–2010) $20 (2002–2007), $50 (1996–2006), $100 (1996–2010), $200 (1996–2008), $500 (1996–2010)
Moroccan dirham All (2002 and 2013)
Namibian dollar All (2012)
Netherlands Antillean gulden 10, 25, 50, 100 gulden (1998) 250 gulden (1985)
Norwegian krone All (1999)
Polish złoty 10, 20, 50, 100 złotych (2014) All (1994)
Romanian leu All (1996–2001 paper issue), Commemorative 2000 leu (1999), All (2000–2004 polymer issue), All (2005 revaluation issue)
Saudi riyal All (2007)
Singapore dollar All (1999)
South African rand All (2005 and 2013) All (2012)
South Korean won All (2006/2007/2009)
Slovak koruna SKK 200, SKK 500, SKK 1000, SKK 5000 SKK 100, SKK 50, SKK 20
Surinamese dollar 50 and 100 (2010) 5, 10, 20
Swazi lilangeni All (2010)
Swedish krona 50 Kr (2006), 100 Kr (2001), 500 Kr (2001), 1000 Kr (2006) 20 Kr
Thai baht ฿20 (2013), ฿50 (2012), ฿100 (2005, 2010 and 2012), ฿500 (2014), ฿1000 (2005) ฿20 (2003), ฿50 (1997 and 2004), ฿100 (2004), ฿500 (2001), ฿1000 (1999)
Tunisian dinar 10 dinars (2005), 5 dinars (2008), 50 dinars (2008), 10 dinars (2013), 5 dinars (2014) 5, 20, and commemorative 30 dinars
Turkish lira 20,000,000 TL (2001), 2005 and 2009 series
Ugandan shilling All (2010)
United Arab Emirates dirham 500 dirhams (2011), 50 dirhams (2012) 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 dirhams
United States dollar $5 (Series 2006), $10 (Series 2004A), $20 (Series 2004), $50 (Series 2004), $100 (Series 2009, 2009A, Now circulated) $1, $2, $100 (Series 2006A)
Example of CDS anti-counterfeit measures operating on image editing software.

Other banknote detection mechanisms[edit]

Counterfeit Deterrence System[edit]

Recent versions of image editors such as Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro 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[edit]

  • Printer steganography, used by colour 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[edit]

  1. ^ "Software Detection of Currency :: Projects :: Steven J. Murdoch". Cl.cam.ac.uk. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  2. ^ Markus Kuhn: The EURion constellation. Security Group presentation, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 8 February 2002.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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
  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, 14 January 2004.
  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, 24 November 1999.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]