Digital Image Authentication from JPEG Headers

E. Kee, M.K. Johnson and H. Farid

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, 2011



It is often desirable to determine if an image has been modified in any way from its original recording. The JPEG format affords engineers many implementation trade-offs which give rise to widely varying JPEG headers. We exploit these variations for image authentication. A camera signature is extracted from a JPEG image consisting of information about quantization tables, Huffman codes, thumbnails, and EXIF format. We show that this signature is highly distinct across 1.3 million images spanning 773 different cameras and cellphones. Specifically, 62% of images have a signature that is unique to a single camera, 80% of images have a signature that is shared by three or fewer cameras, and 99% of images have a signature that is unique to a single manufacturer. The signature of Adobe Photoshop is also shown to be unique relative to all 773 cameras. These signatures are simple to extract and offer an efficient method to establish the authenticity of a digital image.