German Researchers Beat Printers’ Doc-Tracking DotsMark Davis
Defeating the unique identifiers that the printers can add to documents for the security purposes is possible, for this user need to add some extra dots beyond the security tools that are already added on it. The trick knows that where to add them in the printer.
Many of the printers can add more dots to help in identifying that which of the device printed a document, as it is very handy for knowing that when they actually fall into the wrong hands. And finally the technique works, it also helped to sink NSA leaker the Reality Winner, among the others, and it has also helped in its original purposes of defeating the fraudsters.
However, the technique’s potency might be declining but thanks to a quartet of researchers from the Technical University of Dresden.
Stephan Escher, Timo Richter, Dagmar Schönfeld, and Thorsten Strufe reckon they have easily broken the challenge of knowing that how to anonymize the printed documents, and also presented their work directly to the Association of Computer Machinery’s 6th ACM Workshop on the Information Hiding and Multimedia Security in Innsbruc, last week in Austria.
The TU Dresden researchers explained that they tested the 1,286 documents which are printed on machines from the 18 manufacturers, who are creating an extraction algorithm to recognize the well-known dot-patterns at the same time, and also discovering the four previously undiscovered patterns which coding at 48, 64, 69, and 98 bits.
Since identifying new patterns is very much important from a privacy point of view, however, as the authors point out, that an activist in a dictatorship could easily be unmasked by their printer machine.
The researchers said that unless they happen by using a Brother, Samsung, or the Tektronix printer, but none of them seemed to carry the tracking codes for the security purposes. Evaluated them to work out to automatic extraction of the dot-codes, obfuscating them was relatively much easier for anyone.
So, anybody can easily take a scan of the document or any file and clear the empty areas in the image editor, but sometimes the group’s second method is more difficult than first one or other. When their algorithm recognizes the pattern which is in use, then it takes a mask of almost all possible dot locations in that pattern and also adds more dots that effortlessly conform to the layout, but it provides the code meaningless.