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Fighting fraud with document watermarking

Here's our take on watermarking at Passbase and how we're building a more secure digital environment for our customers.

A few weeks ago, we rolled out the digital watermarking feature to boost assurance and amplify security for enterprises and our users. In our commitment towards keeping our audience in the know about our new features, we break down why digital watermarking is critical for improving confidence in identity verification and driving better online security.

What is watermarking and why do we need it?

A watermark is usually a text or a number that is intentionally placed on an image. This is done with the objective of protecting the original document or the image from being used or modified without permission. It is similar to stamping a document in a way that cannot be easily removed.

What started out as a means for identifying paper manufacturers centuries ago, has made its mark across various sectors today - be it forensics, user tracing, journalism, content protection and monitoring to identifying digital documents.

Why is this done? Every organization wants to stay out of data breach headlines. Besides the significantly large penalties and legal tussles a data breach could bring, it could also take a toll on the reputation and revenue of a business.

In the United States alone, the average cost of a data breach hovers around $8.2 million. Globally, the impact is pegged at $3.9 million. Today, the cybersecurity industry faces a series of data security problems ranging from encryption, data loss prevention and information rights management (IRM).

A large part of this hinges on securely protecting the data - and one of the ways this can be done is through watermarking documents.

How does watermarking work?

By generating a random unique identifier that acts as a stamp over an image submitted by a customer or one that has been downloaded, we are able to ascertain that the entity accessing the documents has the right to do so. Moreover, it helps us ensure that the document in the image is not manipulated.

The process does not tamper with the image, and will only add an additional security layer to the identity verification process - giving users more confidence that their identity details are protected.

Apart from stronger data privacy, it protects the documents from being reused and holds companies accountable - by enabling users to view the document’s audit history. Below is an example of watermarking where each number is unique for maximum security.

watermarking example from passbase

Why is it important?

With digital transactions on the rise, identity verification plays a critical role in ensuring that the user is indeed who they claim to be. This demands that users submit their documents for verification alongside a selfie (biometric scan) to complete the identity verification process and prove that they are who they claim to be.

The most optimal solution to increase the security of the documents is to watermark them. By enabling watermarks, we are able to reduce identity theft that often happens with data manipulation, thereby strengthening fraud prevention.

At Passbase, watermarking the document also forms a part of our internal review, supporting our overall zero-trust architecture.

It ensures that data leaks are accountable by identifying the source of the leak. However, this does not guarantee that data leaks will be completely prevented - it’s a critical function towards mitigating the risk.

Better yet, using watermarking as a digital signature helps mitigate fraudulent accounts and avoids instances of threat actors gaining access to sensitive data.

Our identity verification solution continues to leverage cutting-edge technology to build a more secure digital world. Choosing the right identity verification provider can be pivotal to enhancing security, building trust and meeting compliance requirements for your business.

If you also care about these things in your business, we’d love to give you a demo today.

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.