authentic luxury jeans - product authentication

Product Authentication Approaches: Physical Features, Tracing, Cryptography

The growing complexity and dynamism of global marketplaces provide enormous opportunities for counterfeiting, grey marketing, and tampering with branded and high-valued goods. This breakthrough has a broad impact on all industries, including pharmaceuticals, aviation, automobiles, tools, and luxury products. Aside from the economic loss, the safety of consumers and patients is frequently jeopardized.

Here are the distinct approaches and technologies for product authentication.

  • Authentication based on features

A set of distinguishing qualities determines a physical object’s identification. It may not be feasible to determine the present “value” of such features decisively at any particular time, which may be owing to a lack of appropriate instruments. Consider two “identically” made bottles of wine as an example. With the naked eye, it may be impossible to tell them apart, but minute changes, such as the amount of wine, the form of the bottles, and the structure of the paper from which the labels are made, are unavoidable. If the proper tools and technologies are available, all of these discrepancies can be identified.

The first stage in authenticating a product based on its natural attributes is to look for common features of genuine products. It is believed that most imitation products may be identified in this manner by an expert who is familiar with the actual product or has access to its specifications. Consumers and other untrained individuals can be shown images of the distinguishing features of genuine products to help them identify counterfeits.

Measuring imminent product features, on the other hand, may be difficult or may only work in specific situations. An easier method is to add unique features to easily validate item. Such features include holograms, watermarks, security threads, chemical and DNA markers, micro printing, and printing with inks that are only visible under UV light. Because counterfeiters find it difficult to equip their counterfeit items with the same security safeguards, these features may provide secure authentication.

  • Tracing

Based on tracing information and product pedigree, products can be authenticated and a plausibility check performed. These systems collect and validate information regarding the original products’ locations. In the case of a pedigree, information regarding the sender and receiver of an item is also available and can be verified. A crucial prerequisite of these systems is to have unique identifiers on each product, which can be accomplished by attaching an RFID tag on it or by printing a 2D barcode or an alphanumeric code on the item.

Tracing can be used to determine the authenticity of an item in the following ways. It is important to note that there is always a background system involved that maintains records of where an item is at all times.

  1. As a basic authentication, the system can check if the identifier an object claims to have was indeed issued at the time of manufacture. To reduce successful number guessing by counterfeiters, the following two requirements must be met: the unique IDs must be assigned randomly, and the number of potential identifiers must be larger the number of identifiers issued.
  2. If the item’s supposed location is known in the background system, the actual location can be checked against it. This will also help to detect grey marketing activity.
  3. If the item’s history is known, i.e. where it has been in the past, when it was there, and in which transactions it was involved, this history can be compared to genuine traces. In tracing-based authentication, it is crucial that the association between an item and a serial number is established in a secure way. Otherwise, the authentication process would yield no information about the item under evaluation.
  • Cryptographic support

An RFID tag with a secret key encoded within it can act as an authentication feature. Naturally, the key must be safeguarded against unwanted access, such as side-channel attacks. Cryptographic technology should only be accessed via a well-defined interface, which typically provides entity authentication via a challenge-response protocol. New electronic passports, for example, incorporate RFID tags for authentication. Passports of this type are also a good example of the security and privacy concerns being raised by the widespread usage of RFID. Nowadays, pharmaceuticals and other industries like brewery and luxury goods are starting to implement this technology.


To distinguish genuine products from counterfeit ones, effective product authentication approaches and technologies are required. Today, a wide range of goods and services are available, including widely used security marks such as holograms as well as developing authentication systems based on cutting-edge technology such as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). These current methods of product authentication necessitate expertise, specialized equipment, or even both. Collaboration with technical professionals helps to reduce cloning assaults. Visit IDlogic to learn more about the most advanced anti-counterfeiting solutions.