EURion constellation

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The EURion constellation is made up of five rings.

The EURion constellation (also known as Omron rings[1] or doughnuts[2]) is a pattern of symbols incorporated into a number of secure documents such as banknotes and ownership title certificates designs worldwide since about 1996. It is added to help imaging software detect the presence of such a document in a digital image. Such software can then block the user from reproducing banknotes to prevent counterfeiting using colour photocopiers.

Description[edit]

The Orion constellation

The name "EURion constellation" was coined by security researcher Markus Kuhn, who uncovered the pattern on the 10 Euro (€10) banknote in early 2002 while experimenting with a Xerox colour photocopier that refused to reproduce banknotes.[3] The pattern has never been mentioned officially; Kuhn named it the EURion constellation as it resembled the astronomical Orion constellation, and EUR is the ISO 4217 designation of the euro currency.[4]

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.

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.[2] A 1995 patent application[5] 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.[6] In 2007 the term "Omron rings" was used in an award announcement by a banknote collectors society.[7]

Usage[edit]

The following table lists the banknotes on which the EURion constellation or Omron rings have been found so far. Current currencies for which all recent banknotes use the constellation are in bold.

Omron rings made by circular zeroes on a US $20 note (marked in blue).
Currency Notes with Omron rings Notes without Omron rings
Armenian dram 1,000֏ (2001 and 2011), 5,000֏ (2003 and 2012), 10,000֏ (2003 and 2012), 20,000֏ (2007, 2009 and 2012), 100,000֏ (2009) 20,000֏ and commemorative 50,000֏
Aruban guilder All (2003 and 2019)
Austrian schilling[€] S 500 and S 1,000 (1997) S 20, S 50, S 100, and S 5,000
Australian dollar All (2016 onward), Centenary of Federation $5 (2001)[8]
Belgian franc[€] 500 fr. (1998), 1,000 fr. (1997), 10,000 fr. (1997) 100 fr., 200 fr., and 2,000 fr.
Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark KM 200 (2002), All (2012) 50 fenings, KM 1, KM 5, KM 10, KM 20, KM 50, KM 100
Bulgarian lev All (1999), 100 лв. (2018)
Canadian dollar Banknotes in the Canadian Journey (2001–2006) and Frontier Series (2011–2015), "Canada 150" $10 (2017) $10 ("2018 series")
CFA franc All (both West African and Central African, 2003)
Chilean peso $1,000 (2011) $2,000 (2010) $5,000 (2009), $10,000 (2010), $20,000 (2010) $1,000 and $2,000 (old version)
Comorian franc All (2005–2006) 2,500 FC
Croatian kuna 5 kn., 10 kn., 20 kn. (2001), 50 kn., 100 kn., and 200 kn. (2002) 500 kn. and 1,000 kn.
Czech koruna 2,000 Kč. (2007), 1,000 Kč. (2008), 500 Kč. (2009), 5,000 Kč. (2009), 100 Kč. and 200 Kč. (2018) 100 Kč., 500 Kč., 1,000 Kč., 5,000 Kč.
Danish krone All (1997, 2002 and 2009 series)
Djiboutian franc 1,000 Fdj (2005), 2,000 Fdj (2008), 10,000 Fdj (2009) 2,000 Fdj, 5,000 Fdj, and 10,000 Fdj (National Bank of Djibouti issue)
Dutch guilder[€] ƒ10 (1997) ƒ25, ƒ50, ƒ100, ƒ250, ƒ1,000
Egyptian pound £E 5 (2002), £E 10 (2003), £E 20 (2001), £E 50 (2001), £E 100 (2000), £E 200 (2007) 25 PT., 50 PT., £E 1
Euro All (2002 First series and the 2013 Europa series)
Faroese króna All (2001 and 2011)
French franc[€] 100 F (1997) 50 F, 200 F, and 500 F
German mark[€] DM 50, DM 100, DM 200 (1996–2002) DM 5, DM 10, DM 20, DM 500, DM 1,000
Guyanese dollar G$1,000 (2019)
Hungarian forint All (2010 series), 10,000 Ft. (2014), 20,000 Ft. (2015), 2,000 Ft. (2016), 5,000 Ft. (2016), 1,000 Ft. (2017), 500 Ft. (2018)
Indian rupee 50/- (2006), 100/- (2005) and 500/- (2000) (both 2nd edition), 500/- (2016), 1,000/- (2000), 2,000/- (2016), 50/- (2017), 200/- (2017), 100/- (2018) 5/-, 10/-, 20/-, 50/- (Before 2006), 1st edition of 100/- (1996) and 500/- (1997)
Indonesian rupiah Rp.20,000, Rp.100,000 (revision of 2004 series), Rp.10,000, Rp.50,000 (revision of 2005 series), All (2016 series), All (2022 series)
Japanese yen ¥2,000 (series D, 2000), series E (2004), series F (2024); ¥1,000 (series F, 2011–present)
Kyrgyzstani som All (2009–2010)
Kuwaiti dinar All (2014)
Macanese pataca Banco Da China: All (8.12.2003)
Malagasy ariary 100 Ar., 200 Ar., 500 Ar., 1,000 Ar. (2004), 2,000 Ar., 5,000 Ar., 10,000 Ar. (2008), All (2017) 2,000 Ar., 5,000 Ar., 10,000 Ar.
Mexican peso Series D Mex$1,000 (2002), All (Series F banknotes; 2006–2010) Mex$20 (2002–2007), Mex$50 (1996–2006), Mex$100 (1996–2010), Mex$200 (1996–2008), Mex$500 (1996–2010)
Moroccan dirham All (2002 and 2013)
Myanmar kyat Ks.1,000/- (2020),[9] Ks.500/- (2020)[10] K.-/50, K.1/-, Ks.5/-, Ks.10/-, Ks.20/-, Ks.50/-, Ks.100/-, Ks.200/-, Ks.500/-, Ks.1,000/- (1998 and 2004 issue), Ks.5,000/-, Ks.10,000/-
Namibian dollar All (2012)
Netherlands Antillean guilder NAƒ10, NAƒ25, NAƒ50, NAƒ100 (1998) NAƒ250 (1985)
Norwegian krone All (1999 and 2017)
Polish złoty 10 zł., 20 zł., 50 zł., 100 zł. (2014), 200 zł. (2015), 500 zł. (2017) All (1994)
Renminbi ¥1 RMB (2004), 2005 revision of ¥5 RMB and above, ¥100 RMB (2015), ¥1 RMB, ¥10 RMB, ¥20 RMB and ¥50 RMB (2019)
Romanian leu All (1996–2001 paper issue), Commemorative 2000 Lei (1999), All (2000–2004 polymer issue), All (2005-2021 revaluation polymer issue), 100 Lei ("100th Anniversary of the Great Union" commemorative note) (2018), 100 Lei ("100th Anniversary of the Completion of the Great Union" commemorative note) (2019)
Saudi riyal All (2007 and 2016, 2017, 2020, 2021)
Singapore dollar All (1999), S$10 and S$50 (2015 50th Anniversary of Independence commemorative issues)
South African rand All (2005 "Big Five", 2013 "Nelson Mandela" and 2018 "Mandela Centenary" series) All (2012 "Nelson Mandela" series)
South Korean won All (2006, 2007, 2009 and 2017)
Slovak koruna[€] 200 Sk., 500 Sk., 1,000 Sk., 5,000 Sk. 100 Sk., 50 Sk., 20 Sk.
Sterling Bank of England £5 (since 2002), £10 (since 2000), £20 (since 1999), £50
Sudanese pound £S.50 (2018), £S.100 (2019), £S.200 (2019), £S.500 (2019), £S.1,000 (2022) £S.1, £S.2, £S.5, £S.10, £S.20 and £S.50 (2007 and 2011 issues)
Surinamese dollar Sur$50 and Sur$100 (2010) Sur$5, Sur$10, Sur$20
Swazi lilangeni All (2010), E 100 and E 200 (2017)
Swedish krona All (2015–) 20 kr. (−2015), 50 kr. (−2006), 100 kr. (−2001), 500 kr. (−2001), 1,000 kr. (−2006)
Swiss franc All (2016–)[11]
Thai baht ฿20 (2013), ฿50 (2012), ฿70 (2016), ฿100 (2005, 2010, 2012 and 2015), ฿500 (2014 and 2016), ฿1,000 (2005 and 2015), All (Series 16 "King Bhumibol Adulyadej 2017 memorial banknote series"), All (Series 17 banknotes) (2018) ฿20 (2003), ฿50 (1997 and 2004), ฿100 (2004), ฿500 (2001), ฿1,000 (1999)
Tunisian dinar DT 10 (2005), DT 5 (2008), DT 50 (2008), DT 10 (2013), DT 5 (2014), DT 20 (2017), DT  10 (2020), DT 5 (2022), DT 50 (2022) DT 5, DT 20, and commemorative DT 30
Turkish lira TL 20,000,000 (2001), 2005 and 2009 series
Ugandan shilling All (2010)
United Arab Emirates dirham Dhs.500 (2011), Dhs.50 (2012) Dhs.5, Dhs.10, Dhs.20, Dhs.50, Dhs.100, Dhs.200, Dhs.1,000
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)
Zimbabwean bond notes $2 (2016), $5 (2017)

Other banknote detection mechanisms[edit]

Counterfeit Deterrence System[edit]

Error given by Adobe Photoshop when attempting to print an image of a US$20 bill.

Since 2003, image editors such as Adobe Photoshop CS or Paint Shop Pro 8 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.[12] Experiments by Steven J. Murdoch and others showed that this banknote detection code does not rely on the EURion pattern.[13] It instead detects a digital watermark embedded in the images, developed by Digimarc.[14]

See also[edit]

  • Printer steganography, used by some 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 distinguishing patterns of dots, used as a forensic identifier to identify the source of illegal copies

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some currencies (marked [€]) were replaced by the euro before the complete adoption of the EURion constellation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Glossary of banknotes". www.regulaforensics.com. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b Baraniuk, Chris (25 June 2015). "The secret codes of British banknotes". BBC future. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  3. ^ Markus Kuhn: The EURion constellation. Security Group presentation, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 8 February 2002.
  4. ^ "What Happens If You Photocopy Money?". OMS Copiers. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "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" Archived 2011-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release: 2005–2006/245, G. Raghuraj, Deputy General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, 24 August 2005
  7. ^ "2007 Bank Note of the Year award: 1,000-franc note from Comoros". International Bank Note Society, 15 October 2007.
  8. ^ "RBA Banknotes: Next Generation Banknote Program". banknotes.rba.gov.au. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  9. ^ Friedberg, Arthur L. "Central Bank of Myanmar issuing new 1,000-kyat bank note". CoinWorld. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  10. ^ Myanmar new 500-kyat note (B118.5a) reported for introduction on 19.07.2020 BanknoteNews (https://banknotenews.com). June 21, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-06-22.
  11. ^ "Geheimnisvoller Kopierschutz – Weshalb kann man Banknoten nicht kopieren?". 25 November 2019.
  12. ^ Ulbrich, Chris (14 January 2004). "Currency Detector Easy to Defeat". WIRED.
  13. ^ Steven J. Murdoch (13 June 2004). "Software Detection of Currency". Cl.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  14. ^ 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]