Skip to main content

Real or fake? Izitru uses forensic analysis to spot bogus images

izitru service spots bogus images using forensics hightrust 1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a world where “Photoshopping” has become an ominous term synonymous with digital photography, one company seeks to bring more authenticity to the medium with a cleverly named application. Izitru (say it slow for a quick chuckle) is a new online service that tests the validity of the uploaded images belonging to specific users.

Using Izitru is fairly straightforward. First, take a photo and upload it onto the site. After a few seconds (depending on the image size), image testing begins automatically and displays a progress meter just below your upload. The image is then given its own page, showing the results of the test.

izitru-2To gain Izitru’s highest approval rating, all images must pass individual forensic tests that include analysis of device signature, JPEG structure, JPEG coefficient, sensor patterns, and double JPEG detection – all in under a minute. After the tests, uploaded images are rated from “High Trust” all the way down to “No Trust.” Users can flag questionable images using a “thumbs down” button a la Facebook (if Facebook had an unlike button, that is). Izitru stores any image you upload on its servers, showing a “prominent trust rating.” And, the site requires you to grant it access to your location data.

Izitru was created by Dartmouth College professor Hany Farid and Kevin Conner of San Jose-based Fourandsix Technologies (pronounced like “forensics”), a company that develops “mathematical and computational techniques” for detecting image manipulation. Fourandsix makes the claim that photo manipulation dates back almost to the advent of photography, and the company gives various examples of images that have been tampered with throughout history

This new service has the potential to be a game-changer in the world of photography, especially when it comes to journalism. Imagine being able to quickly verify images as opposed to taking everything at face value. Not everyone is eagle-eyed when it comes to spotting a phony picture, so Izitru is sure to appeal to anyone with an interest in photography.

Our picture that failed the test (and our breakfast).
Our picture that failed the test (and our breakfast). Image used with permission by copyright holder

We gave the site a try and uploaded a few photos. It’s not perfect: An unedited photo we shot, straight from the camera, received a “medium trust” rating. It was able to detect the camera used, where it was uploaded from, and when it was taken. However, that information wasn’t enough to to earn the highest trust rating. Ditto for a photo we shot on a smartphone. Another photo taken with a different camera was able to pass the test, earning a high trust rating. We uploaded another photo we shot, but because the file had been edited in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and re-saved as a new file, Izitru thought it was a fake – even though we knew that the photo is legitimate. Izitru was able to discern an image from the satirical news website, The Onion, as potentially modified, but couldn’t be sure. Obviously, the service still has some ways to go, but as the algorithms improve, so will the site.

According to CNET, Fourandsix hopes to generate revenue by allowing other sites to use Izitru through an application programming interface (API), which lets other software use the service automatically. 

For now, Izitru is free to use online, and there’s also a free mobile app if an image arouses suspicion while you’re out and about, away from your computer. 

(Additional reporting by Williams Pelegrin; via Imaging Resource)

Chase Melvin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chase Melvin is a writer and native New Yorker. He graduated from LIU Brooklyn where he spent 3 years as the News and Photo…
Best Camera Deals: Save on Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, and GoPro
fujifilm x t4 review set 2 dm 1

Whether you're looking for the best digital cameras or the best travel cameras, there are a ton of options out there, sometimes too many options, especially for those who aren't familiar with the photography world. Luckily, we've done a lot of legwork for you and collected a range of great camera deals across the spectrum, so even if you want something more sports-oriented, like a GoPro, there are a couple of deals for those too. So, let's jump right into it.
Today's Best Camera Deals
One of our favorite deals is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 going for $400, as it's one of the better DSLR cameras on the market, and it has a reasonably budget-friendly price on it, making it a great starter camera. Of course, if you've been in the game for a while and are looking for a powerful upgrade, the Sony Alpha 7R IV is one of the best full-frame cameras on the market, and while it still costs a hefty $3,200, that's still $300 off the usual $3,500 price tag. That said, if you're looking for something more portable and action-oriented, you can't go wrong with the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini, although if you're a professional content creator, the GoPro HERO9 Black 5K is probably the one to go for instead.

Do I Need a DSLR or a Mirrorless Camera?
Like most things, this really depends on what you're trying to do. Mirrorless cameras have fewer internal moving parts, which generally means they can capture images quicker, so if you're taking pictures of action-packed stuff like sports or animals in the wilderness, a mirrorless camera is a great option. On the other hand, DSLR cameras are great for low-light conditions and are great for anything from portraits to landscapes. DSLRs are also cheaper and have much better battery life, as well as having a decade or two worth of lenses to choose from.

Read more
How to blur a background in photos
A person photographed with iPhone 11's portrait mode.

Introducing a background blur to your photos can draw attention to a specific subject, such as an individual in a portrait or an item in a still life, while also adding a professional flair to your image. This beautiful background blur, also known as bokeh, can be achieved even after shooting your photo, thanks to advances in editing software. This guide will walk you through the process on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.

Read more
How to download Instagram photos (5 easy ways)
Instagram app running on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Instagram is amazing, and many of us use it as a record of our lives — uploading the best bits of our trips, adventures, and notable moments. But sometimes you can lose the original files of those moments, leaving the Instagram copy as the only available one . While you may be happy to leave it up there, it's a lot more convenient to have another version of it downloaded onto your phone or computer. While downloading directly from Instagram can be tricky, there are ways around it. Here are a few easy ways to download Instagram photos.

Read more