Monday, September 12, 2011

Exif Viewer - expose modified pictures

Every digital photo has unique characteristics associated with a page, as each individual has a personal identity card. This page is called Exif (Exchangeable image file format) and can be viewed by selecting "Properties" of Windows. Data shown here are only general, and in many cases the system can take only a small part of the Exif information.

To see all the features of an image, I recommend KUSO Exif Viewer, an application specialist in deciphering the digital "DNA".

Specifically, here's what you learn in Exif:

  1.     With what camera was the photo taken;
  2.     When the picture was taken;
  3.     When it was last edited;
  4.     What application was used to edit the picture;
  5.     Technical details;
  6.     GPS location (if geotagging was enabled when shooting).

All this information may prove useful at some point. For example, because most of us live in the era of virtual socialization, you more likely to determine whether the miss you met on Yahoo Messenger or Facebook is "real" or "unreal". Do this using your Exif data and then putting them together with profile data or comparing them with discussions between you and that person. It's a little police work, but worth it.

Here's how to do practically investigate. Never take a good profile picture for real, it is possible that it went through numerous edits to compromise Exif data.

1. Ask for a personal image and open it in KUSO Exif Viewer application;

2. Notice what camera model photo was used to take the picture (if there is nothing listed in the 'Make "- producer and "Model"- model, your picture was probably copied from a website or it's been through an editing program to remove Exif data);

3. Notice when the picture was taken and published - so you know if someone sent pictures of them when they were younger or if they appealed to various tricks to appear more beautiful. From the "Software" you can even find the application used to change its image;

4. Take advantage of GPS information, if available. The GPS Information section, right-click the field GPSPosition (or any other section) and choose "Locate on Map by GPS spot" and you can now view the map position - I recommend Google Maps. So you can see if the image corresponds to the position on the map. It is clear that the image is faked if the GPS indicates that the picture was taken at sea and in the picture you see a person skiing.

Locate on Google Maps the shooting spot marked with a green arrow on Google Maps. Following these steps, your chances of being fooled by appearances decrease.

As for technical details showed by Exif, well they are not so useful in the "investigation", but they also provide information about camera settings when the user has pressed the shutter, namely:

    Image resolution;
    ISO value;
    Exposure time;
    Exposure calculation;
    White balance;
    Focal length, etc..

These are the main infos in an Exif and also the ones understandable by most users. Besides those mentioned, Exif details contain a lot of fields that only professionals understand.

Mention the possibility that Exif data might be phony, because there are many Exif Editing programs (like Opanda PowerExif), but is unlikely to happen.

KUSO Exif Viewer is one of simple applications, but which reveals a lot of information behind digital images. You can also try in the browser addons that do exactly the same thing. A good example is Firefox Exif Viewer.

Download the application by clicking here

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