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Old 06-08-2017, 12:37 AM   #1
RandomTroll
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Color printers tag their output with serial number and time stamp


Quote:
'Computer security experts, including the consultant Robert Graham,
have noted that color printers leave barely visible microdots
identifying the serial number of the printer, the date and time of the
printing,'
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/u...-leak-nsa.html


So Reality Winner (sounds like a race-horse) could have sent a photocopy.
 
Old 06-08-2017, 12:58 AM   #2
syg00
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Very old news - I remember stories that supposedly started when colour printers became good enough to do money. Way before the mint started putting anti-forging technology into (particularly plastic) notes.
 
Old 06-08-2017, 02:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing, never knew about it. Cheers!
 
Old 06-08-2017, 08:29 AM   #4
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Yes printer steganography is old news. It's usually a pattern of Y toner. It is actually more visible on certain types of media such as clear acetate films. I actually reported it to a vendor a few years ago as a "fault" and was told what it was.

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-08-2017 at 08:34 AM. Reason: it's 'steganography'
 
Old 06-08-2017, 07:35 PM   #5
sundialsvcs
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... and laser printers do it, too.

Tip: The very best(!) thing I ever did was to stop using "ink jet" printers and to invest in a Hewlett-Packard® LaserJet® [color ...] laser printer that was designed to earn its daily bread in real offices. I printed close to 1,500 pages on the cartridge-set that came with it. Then, for about $250 apiece, I can buy replacement cartridge-sets that are rated at 3,500 pages each.

There's a reason why "ink-jet printers are so cheap." It's the Gillette Principle®:
Quote:
"Give 'em the handle, Sell 'em the blades."
The total cost of ownership of my built like a Battleship real(!) printer is a tiny fraction of that of the "squirt guns" that it forever replaced.

- - - - -

And since I never plan on printing counterfeit money with it, I really don't give a damn about steganography. (In fact, it actually sounds like a very good idea to me.)

Think about it: "the piece of evidence that just might clinch this gruesome murder case is a computer-printed letter." With essentially no impact on the deliverable document as seen by any and every one of its legitimate, lawful users, a crucial bit of potentially very-important information can be conveyed for law-enforcement purposes. Pretty clever.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 06-08-2017 at 07:44 PM.
 
Old 06-08-2017, 09:17 PM   #6
JJJCR
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
... and laser printers do it, too.

Tip: The very best(!) thing I ever did was to stop using "ink jet" printers and to invest in a Hewlett-Packard® LaserJet® [color ...] laser printer that was designed to earn its daily bread in real offices. I printed close to 1,500 pages on the cartridge-set that came with it. Then, for about $250 apiece, I can buy replacement cartridge-sets that are rated at 3,500 pages each.

There's a reason why "ink-jet printers are so cheap." It's the Gillette Principle®:

The total cost of ownership of my built like a Battleship real(!) printer is a tiny fraction of that of the "squirt guns" that it forever replaced.

- - - - -

And since I never plan on printing counterfeit money with it, I really don't give a damn about steganography. (In fact, it actually sounds like a very good idea to me.)

Think about it: "the piece of evidence that just might clinch this gruesome murder case is a computer-printed letter." With essentially no impact on the deliverable document as seen by any and every one of its legitimate, lawful users, a crucial bit of potentially very-important information can be conveyed for law-enforcement purposes. Pretty clever.
Overall summary: "Business as usual.."
 
Old 06-13-2017, 10:05 PM   #7
AwesomeMachine
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If you set the print driver to debug, you can also observe that laser paper can be identified by manufacturer and type, by the printer.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 07:21 AM   #8
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Corporate Grade Printers have hard drives that record everything.

Remember geo-tagging camera photos? when that came "out"? "OM G.O.D."
Anyone surprised?

#P2035
Cartridges cost > $100.00 and the last one I paid for was on Sep 29, 2014.
Prolly got 5 more years at this pace. Slow but Deadly.
 
Old 06-14-2017, 02:14 PM   #9
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Note also that information that gets sent to the printer is usually stored in a cache. The way it works your OS creates a print job that goes to the spooler, and all the while that job gets stored in a cache on the printer as it's being queued. Usually when the print out is completed the spool file (job) is removed from the spooler, but not all printers delete the cache, so be aware of that if printing out sensitive information.

* The print spooler is the process that manages the printing in the background

Last edited by justmy2cents; 06-14-2017 at 02:23 PM.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
There's a reason why "ink-jet printers are so cheap." It's the Gillette Principle®
The "Gillette Principle" very much applies to laser printers and toner sales as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
of the "squirt guns" that it forever replaced.
The "squirt guns" are still in use - powering $1M plus industrial digital printers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
And since I never plan on printing counterfeit money with it, I really don't give a damn about steganography. (In fact, it actually sounds like a very good idea to me.) [...] Think about it
A "very good idea" is debatable. Printer steganography was developed primarily to deter forgers and to provide trace-ability to the printer's serial number. This should would lead to the purchaser of the printer and give a lead from there. However if the retailer doesn't record where the serial numbers are sold onto, the trail ends there.

Printers are not by default secured, licenced equipment registered to one individual and even if it were the case, you'd still have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt as to who printed the document and if they did so for nefarious purposes, so any "evidence" based on printer steganography would be shaky at best.

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-15-2017 at 07:32 AM.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 09:52 AM   #11
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
The "Gillette Principle" very much applies to laser printers and toner sales as well.
The "squirt guns" are still in use - powering $1M plus industrial digital printers.

A "very good idea" is debatable. Printer steganography was developed primarily to deter forgers and to provide trace-ability to the printer's serial number. This should would lead to the purchaser of the printer and give a lead from there. However if the retailer doesn't record where the serial numbers are sold onto, the trail ends there.

Printers are not by default secured, licenced equipment registered to one individual and even if it were the case, you'd still have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt as to who printed the document and if they did so for nefarious purposes, so any "evidence" based on printer steganography would be shaky at best.
I agree that it was an idea that probably sounded better on the drawing board.

I fully well know that ink-jet technology is still in widespread use ... but it is perfectly ridiculous how expensive consumer cartridges are, for the amount of ink that is actually in them and(!) the amount of ink that will actually wind up on a piece of paper. Laser printers are vastly more efficient ... if(!) you buy a model that is built to hold large-size cartridges! (For instance, the printer model that I now use was "superseded" (of course) by another model which looks just like it except that the cartridges are much smaller, hold much less toner, and are more expensive than the ones I can buy.

Don't go to a run-of-the-mill office supply store to buy a printer: go to a local dealer that sells office printers. They will have models that aren't sold in the clone stores.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 06-15-2017 at 09:53 AM.
 
Old 06-15-2017, 11:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitual View Post
Corporate Grade Printers have hard drives that record everything.
They also have settings to overwrite jobs straight after priting and/or at a chosen time and/or on demand.
 
  


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