Security features: levels and how to identify them

The identification of security features is subdivided into various levels: overt (L1), covert (L2) and forensic (L3).

Overt (L1)

Overt security features that can be authenticated using the naked eye and without any need for technical tools. Probably the best-known features in this category are what are known as “optically variable devices” (OVDs), which are often referred to in simplified terms as “holograms”.

Examples of overt security features:

  • OVDs (holograms)
  • Security inks, such as OptiSafe®
  • Special inks (e.g. thermochromic inks)
  • Guilloché pattering and microperforations
  • Watermarks
  • Security threads
  • Foil applications
  • Special printing processes (e.g. intaglio)

Covert (L2)

Covert security features that can only be checked and read using suitable tools. There are even security elements that can’t always be directly identified as such and are perfectly integrated with the design.

Some examples of covert security features:

  • Fluorescence (e.g. colored fibers used in security paper)
  • Special IR (infrared) inks
  • Microtext
  • Authentication techniques, such as valuesafe®
  • Machine-readable codes and markings

Forensic (L3)

Forensic security features that are known only to a strictly limited and authorized group of individuals. These features can only be deciphered using very specific forensic techniques or in laboratories using appropriate equipment. The best-known representatives of forensic authentication features are mostly based on chemical markers, which are known as “taggants”.

Examples of forensic security features:

Combining security features

valuesafe hologram

advast suisse creates customer-specific security concepts that incorporate security features tailored to customer requirements.

In practice, depending on the end product, a combination of security features from all three levels is sought. Suitably combining security features, materials and manufacturing processes forms the basis of a successful security concept. The different types and levels of security features thus offer the various target groups suitable unambiguous authentication options.

Discuss the specific challenges you face with the experts at advast suisse. We will advise you on all aspects of the security design, production and integration of specific security features.

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