Category Archives: Security

How many security features does it take to make a “hundred”?

The new $100 bill

The new $100 bill has several new security features. Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

As the most counterfeited bill overseas, the $100 bill was certain to have all new, top of the line security features when it was released today — and it didn’t disappoint. The beefed up security costs more (12.6¢, up from 7.8¢)  but ensures that it will be more difficult to counterfeit. Continue reading

Security Printing Services

Sample Vector Image for security printing – Available for free download

Often companies are reluctant to acknowledge counterfeit product problems, hoping they’ll go away. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Counterfeiters tend to take the path of least resistance, so making your labeling a bit harder to fake than someone else’s often is the first step in recovery. This may not even add cost to current practices, but learning how is  as simple as seeking out an expert.

Most security printers share information (discreetly)…after confirming “your” authenticity. Whatever printing processes you already use on labeling, tagging, packaging and other documents (Certificates, coupons, etc.),  may be able to simultaneously apply security features. Continue reading

The Magical Art of Harry Potter’s Security Printing

As Warner Bros. planned the new Harry Potter Collectors Edition “treasure chest,” the first piece they wanted fans to see when opening this incredible product was a “Certificate of Authenticity” with genuine artistic value.  While wisely combating potential product counterfeiting, their ultimate goal was to provide fans with truly artistic, collectible Certificates which perfectly match the “look” of these excellent films. Ultimately, multiple print processes (lithography, embossing, foil stamping, digital color printing & other techniques) were combined to recreate “the magic” which delights worldwide fans. And of course, that required producing these collector’s edition Certificates in multiple languages. Continue reading

Election Season Depends Upon Print

It’s no surprise, given the inability to secure digital information, that the upcoming election cycles are again choosing print to ensure voters get reliable information and ballots. Here, in Los Angeles, we digitally print tens of millions of pages of CA voter guides in nearly 90 languages, sort and mail them to millions of individual voters…all within a few weeks.

Despite the use of e-technology to saturate the public with campaign messages, when information has to be right, secure and understood by everyone, “print” continues to prove its unique value. As you vote, and I strongly encourage everyone to exercise that responsibility, appreciate that your vote is going to count and can be audited and verified.

While digital voting may someday arrive (hopefully not before every eligible voter has equal “e-access”), when that happens, all bets are off.  Unlike print, e-ballots can be hacked, tracked and worse.  Time will tell.

The End of Business Cards? Hardly.

Today’s LA Times front page had an article (featuring an online entrepreneur :>) who definitely sees no use for business cards, no future and predicts “they’re over.”  Buried in the article were points which clearly refute the title of article, but no matter.

What turned out to be really interesting after reading this “echo from the Rot Com era” was: although I’m a loyal p-newspaper subscriber because I support their investigative journalism, I later visited the LA Times site to see reader responses (LAT generously provides a Comments section for each article).

Oops, all but one response derided the article and the idea that business cards are “over.”  Despite the “e-PR spin” –  the future is all about ‘bumping’ mobile devices, ‘snapping’ codes and such…to instantly download contact data – the article curiously failed to address the exploding problem of mobile device hacking, which is doubling every few months…the reason savvy folks resist dumping unverified data into their contact lists.

What was truly interesting among the comments, several clearly called out the “e-com is greener” myth…and backed their arguments with facts. Just as I was smiling and navigating elsewhere, I bumped into another “e-PR” article built upon the premise “Things change, the ‘New Normal’ is here to stay.”  Where I’d been smiling before, I laughed out loud at this one.  No, sorry Gen Y, “today’s New Normal” will also change.

That’s the problem with “spin,” once folks start, they can’t seem to stop, but no matter.

I needed a good laugh to end the week. And the biggest one of all came right after…when I read that neutrino communication can eventually replace the internet. The recently completed research and successful tests are no laughing matter, but the thought of all that e-PR facing finally facing its comeuppance, that’s sublime.

The QR Conundrum – Will They Last ?

As many speculate on the fading popularity of QR codes, I don’t see them vanishing. I think they’ll continue to be widely used for their originally intended purposes and others not yet seen. QR’s never gained popularity with more than 16% of the U.S. population, and now they’re getting more bad press (this time for installing unauthorized phone billing). When used in context, they’re safe, but early adopters are becoming hesitant about using them.

If not QR’s, then what ?  My guess:  “Near field printing, ” which enables printing to simply be “touched against” a mobile device to enable e-links, could become “the Next Big Thing” in interactive printing and marketing.

“NFP” (Near Field Printing) uses printed circuits (a long proven technology), but unlike QR codes, they’re typically over-printed and invisible to the naked eye. I think this, along with ‘ease of use,’ will better satisfy designers, marketers and consumers. The new circuits introduced by Touchcode show exceptional promise thanks to their ability to auto-connect printing to pads, readers and mobile devices.

For NFP to achieve its full potential, printers are going to need a quick, easy and inexpensive way to generate circuit layouts. Expect more competition for Touchcode in the years ahead.


“Counterfeiting Incorporated” – the World’s Largest Company

Counterfeit merchandise

Image by "DangApricot" via Wikipedia

With counterfeit products growing 30% annually, this plague is now estimated to be doing nearly $1 TRILLION dollars per year in sales. Odds are good, something in your home or office is a “knock off.” Maybe it’s that “discount pair” of sunglasses or watch you bought for 80% off. The scary part is, it may also be your food, medicine, appliances, clothing and electronic devices too.

Estimates are that 75%+ of online Viagra sales are outright fakes, worse still, some containing dangerous content. A high percentage of those “online Canadian pharmacies” are actually sites based in 3rd world nations. Fake baby formula and “products” make the news constantly now that International Govt’s have finally started responding to the threat C-Inc. presents. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in taxes are being lost to counterfeits, and these are a big factor in today’s economic problems.

Fake auto parts are causing accidents, knock off appliances are causing fires, and even your good old “cell phone” has become a dubious proposition. Tens of thousands of counterfeit and gray market mobile devices are being seized at US ports.

What’s a good person supposed to do? First, recognize that “if the price is too good to be true,” something’s wrong. Buying knock off handbags, watches and sunglasses is NOT a victim-less bargain, it’s costing honest, tax-paying workers their jobs. Be very wary of online purchases from unknown sellers. Watch out for “faked sites,” and when in doubt about any online “pitch” (as the wise always are), log out and go directly to that merchant or business “actual site.”

(image source)

Hacked Off? Nope.

While it’s sad a hacker went to unusual lengths to try and prevent us from sharing of useful knowledge, oddly it’s beneficial. For one thing, it’s proof positive that “nothing online” is totally dependable, something we’ve been warning folks about for a long time. Oddly, it’s also refreshing to “start anew.” Much like a home that burns down, while one misses “things,” one is also liberated from the past.

One wonders at what point “the Cloud” (those acres of energy sucking servers pulling endless fossil fuel power) will have another “come to Jesus” moment. The question is not “if,” but when…as daily evidence of hacking of the most sophisticated systems runs rampant.

Then again, I have a real library at home, and printing doesn’t get hacked :>)