Author Topic: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!  (Read 42626 times)

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Offline continuo

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2015, 01:44:01 pm »
If they do have the recordings then they have something concrete to go on.
Even if no recordings then they could go into phone metadata records to find out who was in/near that store at that time and date.
Paid by cash? Search nearby ATM record data for that and previous days for cash withdrawls.
All they need is a list of names to start narrowing down potential suspects, they don't need proof.

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Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2015, 01:49:18 pm »
I'd be willing to bet 99% of the public do not know.

The bar of public knowledge(for me, in a single sample) is my mom. And apparently she's seen it on CNN?  Or something.

If my mom knows about it, it's public.  Ha!

Sad but true. But on the other hand, my mom knows how to use an ipad - so maybe she's ahead of the curve?
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 01:52:17 pm by george graves »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2015, 02:17:38 pm »
Who cares? The encoded data decoder is only in the hand of very high level intelligent officers, and is very unlikely to be used on you unless you print banknotes. Besides, inkjets satisfy 99% of the needs, just in case you want to print terrorism agenda.

Once a while in China you need to register in public safety office before buying a color laser printer because at the moment fake money was everywhere.

I see no reason one should be fear of this unless he prints banknotes, debt notes or stock certificates.
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2015, 02:26:40 pm »
I wonder what would happen (especially here in oz with string consumer rights) if a heap of people started to send the printers back to place of purchase and demanded a refund.
The printer is sold as a device that lays down ink as dictated by the PC. If its adding or subtracting to the image then its not functioning as advertised
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2015, 02:29:44 pm »
I see no reason one should be fear of this unless he prints banknotes, debt notes or stock certificates.

Fear's got nothing to do with it. It's the "sneaky/underhanded" way in which these somewhat "reasonable" counter measures are carried out
 

Offline JoeO

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2015, 02:30:39 pm »
They would probably just match the printout to the printer if they found it in posession of a suspect. I doubt there is a massive database of who bought which printer. The same as you see typewriter defects matched with ransom notes in old movies.

Personally I don't see why printing your own grid of dots over the entire sheet  wouldn't fix them up good. Can you get twice the toner in one spot?

Does this explain why I seem to run out of yellow ink first?
Regarding paying in cash for the printer:
Most printers have printer driver software.  It would not be difficult to have the driver software read out the serial number of the printer and send it to the NSA database along with the IP address of the sending computer.   
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Offline TiN

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2015, 02:32:47 pm »
Lol, I'll check on Ricoh C5000 tomorrow.
One interesting side note for industry people who might be into stealing trade secret documents, by printing on color lazer printers, that it could be tracked with this ease  ;D
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Offline ChunkyPastaSauce

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2015, 02:38:12 pm »
These dots are probably also now used to reconstruct "destroyed" documents (such as shredding). The regular pattern across the sheet provides a reference for reconstruction.   See "DARPA Shredder Challenge 2011", google "yellow dots" with it.
 

Offline baoshi

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2015, 02:44:35 pm »
I'm in the security printing industry. This yellow dot technology is an open secret and common requirement for color printer manufactures. Even passport printer for "certain" countries cannot escape this mandate. If you scan the image in RGB format and take out the B channel, the yellow dot can easily seen as black ones.
 

Offline baoshi

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2015, 02:49:38 pm »

Other interesting things can happen when you try to scan/copy banknotes  :)

Photoshop will flag images of banknotes.

Believe me Photoshop and many color photocopiers have a database of all known currency note images built in. I encounter a high-end canon color machines which refuses to copy currency notes (come out as broken image), but just to cover 10mmx10mm corner of the same note will fool the copier to produce a full  copy
 

Offline GNU_Ninja

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2015, 03:06:17 pm »
Hmmm, so if I print my perfidious propaganda pamphlets using a yellow font on yellow paper ...  ;D
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 04:19:24 pm by GNU_Ninja »
 

Offline AF6LJ

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2015, 03:38:08 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)

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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2015, 03:42:53 pm »
To bad that the serial number is not on the outside of the package.
And if it is, the cameras are not able to show them in an readable solution.
The only thing the cameras show is that you bought a printer.
But not which one of the 10/20 in the shop.
And normally the recordings get deleted after some time.

Your last point is the only one that has validity.
If they do have the recordings then they have something concrete to go on.
Even if no recordings then they could go into phone metadata records to find out who was in/near that store at that time and date.
Paid by cash? Search nearby ATM record data for that and previous days for cash withdrawls.
All they need is a list of names to start narrowing down potential suspects, they don't need proof.
Some of us remove the battery from our phone when we go places we don't be tracked.
Like to the local militia meeting.
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Offline AF6LJ

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2015, 03:54:46 pm »
They would probably just match the printout to the printer if they found it in posession of a suspect. I doubt there is a massive database of who bought which printer. The same as you see typewriter defects matched with ransom notes in old movies.

Personally I don't see why printing your own grid of dots over the entire sheet  wouldn't fix them up good. Can you get twice the toner in one spot?

Does this explain why I seem to run out of yellow ink first?
Regarding paying in cash for the printer:
Most printers have printer driver software.  It would not be difficult to have the driver software read out the serial number of the printer and send it to the NSA database along with the IP address of the sending computer.
If you don't mind waiting the TOR network of onion routers will obfuscate your IP address.
Just make sure you select an outlet in your country a few hundred miles from where you are located.
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Offline Artlav

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2015, 03:56:55 pm »
Paid by cash? Search nearby ATM record data for that and previous days for cash withdrawls.
Interesting.
Here when you get your earnings, you go to the ATM and withdraw them all.
You only keep or put money onto a card when you want to buy something online, usually.

Is that different in USA or Australia?
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Offline JoeO

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2015, 04:42:00 pm »
Paid by cash? Search nearby ATM record data for that and previous days for cash withdrawls.
Interesting.
Here when you get your earnings, you go to the ATM and withdraw them all.
You only keep or put money onto a card when you want to buy something online, usually.

Is that different in USA or Australia?
Yes.  I have a large charge limit.  When the bill comes, I pay it.
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Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2015, 04:43:35 pm »
Just buy a monochrome printer, then no issues with this. Of course you can still be traced and identified to the printer using the old methods Same batch of paper, defects in the rotocut paper blade showing up in the other sheets of paper, latent fingerprints on the paper/envelope, DNA traces on the stamp/envelope, witness marks from the paper pickup, fuser defects that give density variations, post office of origin......
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2015, 04:51:33 pm »
If you are that bent that you are printing bank notes you would not hesitate to steal the printer in the first place. I suspect though that when you download the drivers the printer dose the ET on you and phones home. So as long as you can steal the printer and run it without downloading the drivers and you stay off line you are safe until you try to pass the notes.
 

Offline Stray Electron

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2015, 05:05:47 pm »
Pay cash and never register your printer ;)
And buy them in a different city, far away from where you live.

And make sure is a tethered printer not wifi or ethernet.

  If you install software "drivers", they still report in.  Also even if you print only in black and white, a "color" printer still prints the tracking information.  It's one of the reasons that they consume color ink and REQUIRE color ink be installed even if you print only B&W.

  This is why I print all of my ransom demands on my old 9 pin dot matrix printer that I bought at a flea market.  :)
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2015, 05:51:06 pm »
So *this* is why printers refuse to print black/white pages when the colored ink runs out?

PS: Yes, I just checked my printer with something I printed this morning. It has the dots.

I knew they existed but I never actually looked before and I didn't know they were that easy to see. I just used a simple magnifying glass and there they were!

They literally cover the entire page, there's dots everywhere even though I only printed on the top third of it.

I guess the lesson is to:
a) Use a black/white printer
b) Photocopy your ransom notes before you post them.

I wonder what they actually use them for. I'm sure they don't have a database of every printer sold but they might be useful if you have a murder suspect who owns a laser printer - you could print a test page on his printer and match it.

Maybe bank note checking devices look for yellow dots to see if a banknote came from a color printer or not. That would make a lot of sense.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2015, 07:51:18 pm »


Quote
Does this explain why I seem to run out of yellow ink first?

Very Likely.

actually no. Yellow has always been the first colour to run out. When i worked in a print shop where for ink we essentially used 5Kg tims of pigmented grease we alsways used more yellow than anything else. Your printer will be putting in yellow even if it prints black.
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Offline VinzC

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2015, 09:04:42 pm »
They F*** you with cell phones,
They F*** you at the drive-thru,
They F*** you at the hospital,
They F*** you with printers,
They F*** you all the time!

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Offline f4eru

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2015, 10:24:59 pm »
Maybe there is an easy way to disable it?  :-/O

Put in a really empty yellow cartridge.
(print a few pages all yellow to be sure)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 10:43:51 pm by f4eru »
 

Offline f4eru

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2015, 10:41:01 pm »
Regarding paying in cash for the printer:
Most printers have printer driver software.  It would not be difficult to have the driver software read out the serial number of the printer and send it to the NSA database along with the IP address of the sending computer.
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Offline FrankBuss

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Re: EEVblog #825 - Your Printer Is Spying On You!
« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2015, 11:05:15 pm »
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.
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