Author Topic: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!  (Read 40870 times)

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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #50 on: December 01, 2015, 10:28:12 am »
It is interesting that in a forum that is full of Time Nuts, Precision Resistor Nuts, reverse engineering aficionado's and a myriad of other obsessions, the argument that something is too hard to be practical is ever raised.  Just because it would be hard to use these dot codes to track someone, or because paying cash makes tracking more difficult would not stop them from being used.  Only a speedbump.  The resources that governments and corporations can bring to bear on a problem dwarves any of our efforts.  Their much lower efficiency does not nearly make up the difference.

As a very minor example, think of the people who recover a crashed airplane from a crater or the seabottom and re-assemble it to determine the cause of the crash.
 

Offline v8dave

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #51 on: December 01, 2015, 10:30:36 am »
Dave... Don't wear that tin foil hat for more than 30 minutes a day. It starts to show effect...   ;D

Oh dear... Too late... :)
 

Offline v8dave

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2015, 10:32:39 am »
Up yours Uncle Sam, I only print ransom notes and love letters in black and white.... ;D

But don't use a colour laser to do so  :P
 

Offline v8dave

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2015, 10:35:20 am »
I never knew about this so after seeing this video, I printed out a sample and sure enough there are yellow dots all over the page from my HP CP1025. Interestingly enough, where I printed solid red there were magenta dots so I suspect even if you were to print over the whole of the white area there would still be these dots integrated into whatever was printed?
 

Offline wagon

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2015, 11:00:37 am »
I was, in a past life, a copier tech.  Some machines will copy money no troubles! (As a test, printout destroyed afterwards)  The yellow dots aren't even a secret!  Who cares!  You could trace printouts by marks left by the fuser, paper type, registration of the printouts, toner type, etc. 
Hiding from the missus, she doesn't understand.
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2015, 11:04:13 am »
Up yours Uncle Sam, I only print ransom notes and love letters in black and white.... ;D

But don't use a colour laser to do so  :P

It's not the first time that I've heard of it and cannot confirm that printing in black and white will bypass the coding but it is noted in one of the linked sites supplied by Dave which I read later on.

A hammer, chisel and a big block of stone is my preferred printing method, arms like Popeye.

http://seeingyellow.com/

 

Offline AF6LJ

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2015, 11:47:04 am »
According to Xerox, who developed the first encoding system, the dots are generated by a dedicated chip "way in the machine, right near the laser" that embeds the dots when the document "is about 20 billionths of a second" from printing.
I doubt it. Printer manufacturers are trying so save every penny. Such a chip would cost a bit and I guess could be difficult to integrate in the printing process. I think it is all in the firmware.

PS: I don't see dots on printouts from my Samsumg CLX-3170.
I am convinced there is a way to turn off the yellow dots in firmware....
Most likely hackable.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2015, 11:54:45 am »
And the problem is what exactly ?
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
if you do : you deserve all that can be thrown at you.

simple. no ?
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Offline steves

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2015, 12:02:25 pm »
Pay cash and never register your printer ;)

Too bad about those security cameras in the stores, and the date and time of the sale still tracked  8)

... and wear a burka.
 

Offline wagon

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2015, 12:20:50 pm »
... and wear a burka.
Only if you're really ugly.
Hiding from the missus, she doesn't understand.
 

Offline Maxlor

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2015, 01:09:43 pm »
And the problem is what exactly ?
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
if you do : you deserve all that can be thrown at you.

simple. no ?
As always, it comes down to: quis custodet ipsos custodies? Barely a month goes by without me reading about some failure in that regard.
 

Offline JoeO

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #61 on: December 01, 2015, 01:18:41 pm »
And the problem is what exactly ?
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
if you do : you deserve all that can be thrown at you.

simple. no ?
No, because that is the way it always starts.  "We are going to do this to cut down on crime."
Look at all the laws that were passed for a "valid" reason. 
The DMCA.  Last I knew, it is being used to stop printer cartridge recycling.  There are other inventive ways it is being used.
Cell phones.  Turn on GPS so we can find you if you are in an accident.  Now people are using it to track you.
 
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Today, only 26,000 remain.
 

Offline kalleboo

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #62 on: December 01, 2015, 02:11:11 pm »
Believe me Photoshop and many color photocopiers have a database of all known currency note images built in.
Rather than having a database of all the currency in the world, they probably just look for the EURion constellation
 

Online rsjsouza

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2015, 03:03:02 pm »
And the problem is what exactly ?
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
if you do : you deserve all that can be thrown at you.

simple. no ?
No, because that is the way it always starts.  "We are going to do this to cut down on crime."
Look at all the laws that were passed for a "valid" reason. 
The DMCA.  Last I knew, it is being used to stop printer cartridge recycling.  There are other inventive ways it is being used.
Cell phones.  Turn on GPS so we can find you if you are in an accident.  Now people are using it to track you.

I personally don't care if my pages are printed in traceable hieroglyphs, and given the number of Japanese printer manufacturers also involved in this (Canon, Panasonic, Oki, etc.), I personally find it hard to believe the US government is acting alone.

Law enforcement can track a person in several ways already mentioned here (credit cards, cameras, etc.). Regarding cell phones, there is no need for a fancy schmancy GPS turned on (that could easily be "turned off" by means of an actual tinfoil hat over it) - cellphone towers track a device's unique ID.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #64 on: December 01, 2015, 03:43:26 pm »
Law enforcement can track a person in several ways already mentioned here (credit cards, cameras, etc.). Regarding cell phones, there is no need for a fancy schmancy GPS turned on (that could easily be "turned off" by means of an actual tinfoil hat over it) - cellphone towers track a device's unique ID.

You can't get a mobile SIM card in this country without photo ID.
 

Offline kalleboo

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #65 on: December 01, 2015, 04:33:48 pm »
You can't get a mobile SIM card in this country without photo ID.
Well "photo ID" is "enter your passport number in an online registration form", and from what I can tell there's no real way to verify if a passport number exists or is even valid... (as opposed to the services I could find which all acted on scans or MRZ data)
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 04:42:43 pm by kalleboo »
 

Offline drussell

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #66 on: December 01, 2015, 04:39:46 pm »
You can't get a mobile SIM card in this country without photo ID.

Wow!  Interesting....  No "disposable" pre-paid cell phones in AU...

Quite the variance worldwide on that one, I suppose...  When my sister did a stint as an exchange teacher in Ghana, she could buy SIM cards and/or minutes for several of the major providers out the window of the bus while stopped in traffic.  You could buy pretty much anything from outside the window of the bus while stopped in traffic!  :)  I can't find the blog post with her list of crazy things she saw being peddled from the street to riders of the bus but SIM cards and minutes were available everywhere on the street:

Quote
Anyway, when you run out of minutes for your phone you just buy another card, which is the size of a credit card but is paper, and scratch the back to get a number to enter on the phone.  These can be bought literally every 20 ft at stands and I try to mix it up a bit because I think they would wonder who the crazy white lady is talking to all the time in order to use that many minutes.  You know they are open for business if the umbrella is up and closed if it is down.  Very simple, very easy, I like it.  (Sorry sorry that this pic is sideways.  Selfishly I had decided it is easier for you to turn your head than for me to take the time to upload it again once I have rotated it.)
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2015, 05:42:29 pm »
You could trace printouts by marks left by the fuser, paper type, registration of the printouts, toner type, etc.
That's not true. You cannot trace a printout with these characteristics. They don't tell you the date and printer serial number.
You can prove that it came from that particular printer, however.
Who cares!
We care. We don't want to be tracked continuously by surveillance states and phony agencies.
 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2015, 05:57:25 pm »
Well, if we can't disable the tracking dots, why not add our own?
Like, adding to every print our personal yellow dots watermark that just happen to overlap with the embedded one.   8)
 

Offline Simon

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #69 on: December 01, 2015, 05:59:36 pm »
Well, if we can't disable the tracking dots, why not add our own?
Like, adding to every print our personal yellow dots watermark that just happen to overlap with the embedded one.   8)

If they just happen to overlap the existing ones they just reinforce the ones there. You need a random pattern of yellow dots all over the page to confuse the coded pattern. It may need to be random to prevent of from being filtered out.
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Offline bktemp

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2015, 06:17:35 pm »
If they just happen to overlap the existing ones they just reinforce the ones there. You need a random pattern of yellow dots all over the page to confuse the coded pattern. It may need to be random to prevent of from being filtered out.
If they are random, they can be filtered out, because they only have to look for a repeating pattern in the noise to recover the information.
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #71 on: December 01, 2015, 06:19:38 pm »
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
No it isn't. Counterfeiters don't use laser printers, you cannot print credible counterfeits with that technology. Every people handling money on a daily basis will immediately see the difference.
Counterfeiting will typically be blocked by detecting the eurion constellation.

That code can also probably not be read in the noise when all you have is a small part of the printout that is full of colors and very complicated patterns with no white patch.
That code is clearly designed to be readable on bigger patches of white background.


Besides, this measure wastes a lot of yellow toner. That ain't cheap.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 06:24:18 pm by f4eru »
 

Offline baoshi

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #72 on: December 01, 2015, 07:45:14 pm »

Believe me Photoshop and many color photocopiers have a database of all known currency note images built in.
Rather than having a database of all the currency in the world, they probably just look for the EURion constellation

Not completely. I just scanned a note, photoshop recognized it as currency. I blanked out the EURion constellation  photoshop still recognize it as currency. It seems to have a complicated scoring system.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #73 on: December 01, 2015, 07:46:12 pm »
And the problem is what exactly ?
This is a measure to block counterfeiting. So if you don't print money, clones of valuable art pieces or IS pamphlets : no problemo.
if you do : you deserve all that can be thrown at you.

simple. no ?

Do they have to identify the exact printer to do that? Can't they just print the exact same pattern of yellow dots on all printers?

 

Offline amyk

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #74 on: December 01, 2015, 07:46:48 pm »
Ever wonder where all the open-source (2D) printers are, or why firmware hacks seem to be so rare (even for simpler things like disabling those bloody chipped cartridges)...? A high-quality printer that they cannot control probably makes those in power feel uncomfortable, the same way they feel about things like encryption...
 


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