Archive for June 2017 | Monthly archive page

Bitcoin is a crypto-currency which leverages the Blockchain. Similar to a real currency, Bitcoin is hailed as a revolutionary technology for storing value. It’s popularity stems from distrust in real world currencies, the un-regulated printing of currencies like the US Dollar.

Bitcoin is governed by “developers” and infrastructure. Crypto Miners who facilitate the transactions within the Bitcoin ecosystem have a shared consensus to regulate and evolve the Bitcoin economy. Bitcoin has governed parameters which include a limit on quantity, blocksize and others.

Today, the Bitcoin community seeks to evolve Bitcoin with agreed changes. Segwit2x, also known as the New York Agreement, is an industry-wide compromise that CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group Barry Silbert spearheaded in May to activate the Segregated Witness (Segwit) scaling upgrade for Bitcoin. Key mining pools and exchanges that agreed to the aforementioned plan include Bitmain’s Antpool, Btc.top, Bixin, Btcc Pool, F2pool, Huobi, Okcoin, Viabtc, BW, 1Hash, Canoe, Batpool, and Bitkan.

The event and announcement closely follow Bitmain’s release of its hard fork protection plan against UASF BIP148, which CEO Jihan Wu has described as an attack on Bitcoin. He spoke at the Summit on June 14 about how to prevent BIP148 from activating, outlining its weaknesses.

China owns ~80% of Bitcoin mining infrastructure and typically plays a dominant role in the future of Bitcoin.

Read more here.

In 2005, a research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.

“We’ve found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.

You can see the dots on color prints from machines made by Xerox, Canon, and other manufacturers (for a list of the printers we investigated so far, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php). The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern, you need a blue light, a magnifying glass, or a microscope (for instructions on how to see the dots, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/).

EFF and its partners began its project to break the printer code with the Xerox DocuColor line. Researchers Schoen, EFF intern Robert Lee, and volunteers Patrick Murphy and Joel Alwen compared dots from test pages sent in by EFF supporters, noting similarities and differences in their arrangement, and then found a simple way to read the pattern.

“So far, we’ve only broken the code for Xerox DocuColor printers,” said Schoen. “But we believe that other models from other manufacturers include the same personally identifiable information in their tracking dots.”

You can decode your own Xerox DocuColor prints using EFF’s automated program at http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/index.php#program.

Xerox previously admitted that it provided these tracking dots to the government, but indicated that only the Secret Service had the ability to read the code. The Secret Service maintains that it only uses the information for criminal counterfeit investigations. However, there are no laws to prevent the government from abusing this information.

“Underground democracy movements that produce political or religious pamphlets and flyers, like the Russian samizdat of the 1980s, will always need the anonymity of simple paper documents, but this technology makes it easier for governments to find dissenters,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “Even worse, it shows how the government and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy by compromising everyday equipment like printers. The logical next question is: what other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?”

EFF is still working on cracking the codes from other printers and we need the public’s help. Find out how you can make your own test pages to be included in our research at http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/wp.php#testsheets.