Hard Check Print Security Alternative
By Tim Dexter on Nov 22, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving to those readers in the US - for the rest of you Happy Thursday. Before I head off to help eat some monstrous great bird with a group of friends and family I have a great customer tip to share.
You may remember the article I posted last week on a check security solution from Evergreen - they provide the removable hardware that holds the check singatures and micr font, it sits between server and printer. They also now provide the software solution that integrates with Publisher and enables the signatures to be read and pulled into the final document.
I received a mail from Dustin Frysinger and Keith Preston from the National Lime & Stone Company - they have been working on their own check security solution wanting to come up with a lower cost alternative. They had not invested in a SIMM printer module to hold the check signature images but they still wanted a hardware solution. I have mentioned mounting a USB or memory card as an accessible drive in the past; Dustin and Keith have actually implemented it. They have the check signatures on a memory card that can be kept locked up until a check run needs to be executed. When they are ready, the memory card is inserted into a card reader on the server and its mounted as a drive - I have played with mounting the card on a web server and gotten that working in the past. They took a simpler route and just mounted it as a drive - simpler is always better in my book - I have to kick myself sometime for being too fancy in my solutions.
In their template they have logic to pull in the signature images as required i.e.
Rather than a regular URL they are using the 'file' URI to pull the image in. Of course that drive needs to be accessible from where ever Publisher is running. If the check print is run without the card in place then signatures are of course not pulled in and there is a blank area left. Still a little vulnerable may be - my bank never seems to check my signature until after tha mony has been drawn - maybe things are stricter for a company check. However its not hard to add the logic to put in a 'VOID' image if the signature image is not present - I blogged this a while back ... actually it was back in April 06 that's more than 200 articles ago! If you implement that logic alongside the card method then I think the checks can be as secure as they can be.
Its a nice solution to a tough problem - Im working with a few customers that do already have a printer SIMM module that they need to communicate with via escape sequences. Basically, we need to inject PCL codes into the document prior to sending to the printer to ensure images are pulled in as necessary from the printer module. Its a tough nut to crack because we do not generate PCL ourselves so we need some injection method - Im hoping to be able to publish that soon.
Dustin and Keith have been up to a host of other stuff but I'll save that for another day. If you want to know more about their approach, let me know via comments or mail and I'll hook you up - Im sure they'll be cool with that.
Now, Im off to stuff myself with stuffing, veg out on veggies and maybe eat some turkey - its a tough time of year for the poor old turkey.