Why Do Certificates Need To Be Secure?

Why Do Certificates Need To Be Secure?

When students graduate from university or college, it is the culmination of many hard years of studying and effort. It is also something they paid good money for. You want to know that the certificate you present to them at graduation is a verified, official document.

The organisation itself needs to be sure that the certificate they have, guarantees authenticity. It boosts your brand integrity and ensures that when people see academic records, they know they are genuine and not fraudulent.

We will explain the need for certificate security, the different kinds out there, and why it’s crucial.

What Is Certificate Security & Why Do We Need It?

Certificate Security is a process to guarantee the legitimacy of important documentation. It is a process of printing certificates with security features that make it difficult to duplicate or alter.

We all have documents that prove our identity – birth certificates and marriage certificates, and documents to prove our qualifications, such as a university degree. Forged versions of these documents can be used to steal identities.

You need certificate security to protect your identity and to ensure trust between you and the institutions asking for credentials.


A Short History of Certificate Fraud (Duplication & Alteration)

With the rise in technology, the increase in fraudulent certificates has followed suit. Colour and laser printing and more sophisticated software programs allow criminals to forge documentation better than ever before. Securing your credentials is as important as making sure currency cannot be counterfeited.

Certificate fraud has been around since the invention of degrees. Either having fake certificates on the wall to imply expertise or having them to prove qualifications for a job you are not qualified for, those pieces of paper convey a lot of power.

Faking qualifications can have a significant impact on organisations and, depending on the job, could put real people at risk.

Not only have there been fake certificates, but also fake institutions awarding these certificates. This is putting at risk the brand trust of genuine universities. They are tempting alternatives to students who want to avoid high tertiary education fees.

Technology such as scanners, colour printers, and desktop publishing programs allow more sophisticated duplication and alteration of genuine certificates, making it tricky to spot the fraud.


How To Spot Counterfeit Certificates

There are 3 main ways you can potentially pick a fake certificate.

  1. Language: This can be the incorrect use of Latin, or it could even mean typos and grammar errors in the text of the certificate.
    The name of the institution should also be checked.
  2. Design – There are techniques that genuine certificates have that fakes usually won’t have. These include watermarks and/or holographic marks, an authentic signature, not printed, and an embossed and genuine gold seal.
    You can also check the quality of the paper used.
  3. Location and domains– Check the location of the organisation, and the name of the institution, through Google. Check the University Name, and check for reviews or reports of it being faked. Also, look at the website. If it doesn’t look right, if your gut feeling is it looks dodgy, then trust your instincts and investigate further.

Certificate Security Features: 4 Key Features To Look Out For

There are 4 easy ways to have secure certificates printed and thwart those who would want to copy and fake their way to qualifications.


 1. Custom Hologram

You can have a custom-made hologram applied to your certificate for increased security. This hologram would have the University crest or logo embedded in the design along with many other security features to make it almost impossible to replicate. Over 40 different security design features are available to enhance the look and security of the hologram.

The hologram is applied to the certificate using the Hot stamping method. Heat and pressure fixes the hologram into the fabric of the paper making it impossible to remove. All new hologram designs are registered with the IHMA (International Hologram Manufacturing Association) to prevent any other organisation copying the design.

A Custom hologram is the must have security feature on any document of value – it enhances the overall look and feel of any Certificate.


2. Controlled Watermark Paper Stocks

 A watermark is created through the variation in thickness of paper fibre during the wet-paper phase of papermaking. It produces a mark that is easily visible when held up to the light. The UV dull nature of a secure watermark paper also allows for UV security inks to be used and easily verified.


3. Innovative & Highly Secure Inks

 There are different kinds of ink in use that can give heightened security features to your certificates.

  • Thermochromatic ink, which changes colour depending on temperature.
  • UV Security Inks available in several different colours – only detectable by blacklight
  • APV (Advanced Protection Varnish) – protective invisible ink that helps toner adhesion and prevents alteration fraud. Can be checked using a blacklight.
  • Secure Laser Toner which is hard to remove and bleeds a red dye into the paper if solvent is used.


4. Complex Verifiable Numbering

This is a sophisticated way to protect your documents and verify their authenticity – numbers are typically printed in black but can be printed in UV ink also. A audit number is typically printed on the reverse of the certificate so not to deter from the overall look of the certificate. QR codes can also hold an encrypted number which can be verified through secure software.


Real Life Case Study: Higher Education Certification

 Higher Education is the perfect example of where certificate security is paramount. Students can spend tens of thousands of dollars and many years achieving a higher education degree, which has value in the employment world. The last thing they’d want is someone to pip them at the post with a fake degree from a fake university, or a fraudulent copy from your university.


What Is a Testamur?

A Testamur is the physical, legal certification of the completion of a degree. It will be given to students upon graduation at the graduation ceremony, or mailed to them if they are not there on the day of graduation.

Graduates use this legal document to prove their qualifications.


Why Do They Need To Be Kept Secure?

A Testamur is a legal document. It has signatures from the Dean of the University or other institutions, a seal of authenticity, and other security measures.

Such documents can help establish false identities or help a nefarious person gain employment where they are not actually qualified.


What Are Some of The Top Security Challenges for Higher Education?

Cyber-security breaches are a massive challenge for higher education. With new technology, working and studying from home, the move to more online data and storage is huge. Added to that, students are accessing data online more than ever. The amount of information moving online, and the number of access points and potential breach points are enormous.

Staff are also accessing online services, so the potential breach points just increase.

There can also be multiple people handling data. Students upload assignments for multiple subjects, and different teachers access the one student’s file. Consistency of data, and knowing exactly who is accessing data, could be tricky.

While students are given a physical copy of your Testamur, they do have the ability to order another one if the original is lost or damaged. There needs to be strong authentication so an official, legal document, doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.


Secure Infilling: A cost-effective, streamlined way to issue personalised documents to students

We have more than 250 higher education customers around the world working with Hague and our secure infilling service- PremierCert.

Hague’s process with our education clients is reliable, secure and streamlined. You can upload your data to a secure server with Hague. We produce the documents with quality control checks and security features included in every single document. Once you have approved the product, they’re printed and sent to you, or we can send documents directly to students anywhere in the world.

Our typical turnaround for this service is 3-5 days, however, quicker service level agreements can be arranged.

You can trust us, and you can trust the process. Hague will deliver top-quality printed documents with security embedded.



When students have spent many years and thousands of dollars to achieve this qualification, you want to know that the certificate you give them is high quality and will represent you in the job market.

You also want to know that someone else won’t make counterfeit copies of your official documents and steal the identity of an unknowing graduate. This can significantly damage your organisation brand and integrity.

For over 40 years Hague have been delivering secure documents to over 70 countries worldwide. From our 30,000 sq feet security print factory in Melbourne over 95% of all our printed goods are now manufactured in Australia. Drop one of our experts a line on 03 8579 6566 to discuss how Hague can help reduce the risk of fraud on your documents.