Application of Adobe® Photoshop® CC 2018 for Identifying the Source of HP® Color Laser Printouts

Ahmad S. Salim, Asmaa A. Abdall


In today’s digital world, printer forensics is one of the
most important disciplines to reveal the authenticity of printed
documents and track criminals. Digital steganography
is an advanced approach to secure color laser printing processes,
but it cannot be applied to monochrome laser printers.
Therefore, the identity of the machine used to print color
questioned documents provides a valuable means for detecting
forgery crimes in digital forensic labs and law enforcement
agencies. Based on this, we introduced a new forensic
method that unveils the steganography (hidden information)
embedded in color laser printouts via an adopted preset in
Adobe® Photoshop® CC 2018. This forensic tool can be applied
as a nondestructive and indirect tool for image processing.
In the present work, printing, scanning, extraction, and
measurements for the embedded tracking dots of candidate
color laser printouts were conducted.
Thirty-five HP® color laser printers were selected with
different and same models with different serial numbers and
used to print a hundred color laser printouts.
The defined coded dots matrix patterns that characterized
the color laser machines of the HP® brand could clearly be
Therefore, this procedure could successfully be applied
to distinguish between various color laser printouts printed
by HP® printers with a variant serial number in digital forensic
labs with a conclusive accuracy ratio attained to one
hundred percent.


Forensic Science, Digital Forensics, Color Laser Printouts, Tracking Dots, Active Technique, Adobe® Photoshop®CC.

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