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Nikon image authentication system cracked

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Russian encryption specialist ElcomSoft has discovered flaws in Nikon's systems for ensuring that images have not been tampered with.

The flaw in Nikon's Image Authentication System creates a means to produce forged pictures that would successfully pass validation checks. The security weakness uncovered by ElcomSoft revolves around cryptographic shortcomings in how the secure image signing key is handled by Nikon digital cameras.

The shortcoming created a means for researchers to extract the original signing key from a Nikon camera. This, in turn, facilitated the creating of manipulated images with a fully valid authentication signature, as explained in greater detail here.

ElcomSoft has created a gallery of hoax images that successfully pass validation with Nikon Image Authentication Software.

All past and current digital SLR cameras from Nikon and their associated software are affected, including Nikon D3X, D3, D700, D300S, D300, D2Xs, D2X, D2Hs, and D200 digital SLRs. Nikon is yet to respond publicly about the disclosure.

ElcomSoft says its research is important because so many political, legal and business decisions rely on photographic evidence. The possibility that photographic evidence might be manipulated but escape detection as a fake is therefore a pressing concern.

The Russian firm cracked a system used by Canon to verify that images hadn't been altered last November. @

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