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Hardware Hacking Printer Build

Cryptography To Frustrate Printer-Ink Piracy 305

Zack Melich writes with news of a new front about to open in the war printer manufacturers wage with cartridge counterfeiters, refillers, and hardware hackers. A San Francisco company, Cryptography Research Inc., is designing a crypto chip to marry cartridges to printers. There's no word so far that any printer manufacturer has committed to using it. Quoting: "The company's chips use cryptography designed to make it harder for printers to use off-brand and counterfeit cartridges. CRI plans to create a secure chip that will allow only certain ink cartridges to communicate with certain printers. CRI also said that the chip will be designed that so large portions of it will have no decipherable structure, a feature that would thwart someone attempting to reverse-engineer the chip by examining it under a microscope to determine how it works. 'You can see 95 percent of the [chip's] grid and you still don't know how it works,' said Kit Rodgers, CRI's vice president of business development. Its chip generates a separate, random code for each ink cartridge, thus requiring a would-be hacker to break every successive cartridge's code to make use of the cartridge."
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Cryptography To Frustrate Printer-Ink Piracy

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  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:39AM (#19705191)
    i'll stick to my dot matrix thanks. lets seen them DRM that shit.
  • by josephdrivein ( 924831 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:44AM (#19705213)
    The printer manufacturers that don't include this will obviously sell more.
    "Watch your competitors take suicide: priceless."
  • by jombeewoof ( 1107009 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:01AM (#19705301) Homepage
    I could only imagine the results of this lawsuit were before congress openly sold laws to the highest bidder.

    see keyword openly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2007 @07:05AM (#19705595)
    And you'd have to be bubbling marijuana through nanotech-quality water in a bong made out of U-235 to pay those sort of prices for printer ink.

    I guess the plan for printer makers is to a) hope that not too many of their customers notice that they don't have to pay these prices, and b) pray that some other printer maker doesn't come along and makes lots of noise pointing out that by paying an extra $40 for the printer you can save $200 on ink over the next year or two.

    Of course some companies already lock print cartridges to printers. I have a Xerox color laser printer with some sort of chip in the cartridges allows the printer to identify genuine Xerox®(TM) cartridges, and throw a screaming fit if it doesn't find one. Naturally Xerox claims this is protect you from non-genuine cartridges or something like that, but we have a pretty good idea what it's really about.

    Now in theory you could put off-brand cartridges in the printer, just like you could drink a milkshake made by shoving your hand in the blender, but the practicalities of doing so effectively deny it. Of course in the case of the Xerox printer the inconveniences you'd have to tolerate are artificial -- that is they're only present because Xerox doesn't want you cutting in on their toner revenue -- as opposed to the intrinsic pitfalls of making a milkshake out of your lower arm.

    So there you have it: owning a Xerox color laser printer is only sort of like sticking your hand in a blender.
  • by biduxe ( 541904 ) <> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @07:07AM (#19705603)
    Ok there's something I don't get. What is exactly a counterfeit cartridge. I'm in the business for ten years and I never heard of it. What I know is:

    New genuine printer manufacturer cartridge
    Refilled genuine printer manufacturer cartridge
    Other brands compatible cartridge (new or refilled)

    So I guess a counterfeit cartridge is a cartridge manufactured by some company which brand it with the name of another company for the purpose of ripping off the consumer.

    Well that's something I never saw in my career, and it is new for me, which is why from now on a will take a precautionary measure:
    Don't buy Genuine printer manufacturer cartridge as thos can be in fact counterfeit, buy instead alternative brands less likely to be counterfeit
  • Borat (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:00PM (#19708261) Homepage
    I do not understand theese not joke, please to allow me to try one?

    Theese peoples who say not jokes, they are NOT cool.

    Oh, I get eet now! Bwahaha!

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.