NSA Leaker Busted by Modern Printer Technology (Videos)

(N.Morgan) Since the exposure of NSA leaker Reality Winner, the Air Force Veteran charged with mailing classified material to a news outlet, information has come out about how this leaker was caught.

According to a recent article in Breitbart, a far-left activist named “Reality Leigh Winner” somehow received clearance to work for the National Security Agency, which she allegedly proceeded to rob of classified material in the name of the kookburger anti-Trump “Resistance.” In the post-Edward Snowden era, how does someone like this get anywhere near sensitive data?

An arrest warrant for a NSA contractor named Reality Winner was issued, showing how the authorities tracked her down because she had printed out the documents and sent them to the media outlet, The Intercept.

How was Reality Winner able to obtain such a high level security job, when her attitude towards to current sitting President is so hostile?

Hostility she expressed very openly on her Twitter account.

The U.S. Intelligence Agencies are now faced with the daunting task of coming up with a better vetting system to keep enemies and spies out of our intelligence agencies.

It has become very clear with this incident with Reality Winner that there has been a breakdown in the vetting system for protecting access to top secret, classified information and documents.

What is even more alarming is how the NSA and Feds utilized a function that certain computer printers possess: several printers print a pattern of yellow dots that, when decoded, can offer insight on who created a document, and when, which led to Reality Winner being busted for leaking.

Since those agencies log and keep records of any and all hardware usage, it was easy for the government to figure out who crossed them in the Reality Winner case.

The document posted by the Intercept isn’t the original PDF file, but a PDF containing the pictures of the printed version that was then later included.

The problem is that most new printers print nearly invisible yellow dots that track and trace exactly when and where documents, any document, are printed.

Because all government agencies log all printing jobs on its printers, it can use this to match up precisely who printed the document.

You can download the document from the original article here.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation stated in 2015 that “the documents that we previously received through a (Freedom of Information Request) suggested that all major manufacturers of color laser printers entered a secret agreement with governments to ensure that the output of those printers is forensically traceable….it is probably safest to assume that all modern color laser printers do include some form of tracking information that associates documents with the printer’s serial number.”

The video below describes  three different ways to see the tracking dots your printer produces: with a blue light, with a microscope, or with a scanner. If you don’t have the necessary equipment for a particular step, go on to the next one.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put a list together of printers which do or do not display tracking dots which can be viewed here.

DocuColor Tracking Dot Decoding Guide

The guide link above is part of the Machine Identification Code Technology project.

It explains how to read the date, time, and printer serial number from forensic tracking codes in a Xerox DocuColor color laser printout.

In the video below, The Kim Komando Show gives tips on about why you should think about what information of your devices might be storing and why it’s especially critical to wipe computers, cellphones and tablets, but other gadgets you might not expect can store data as well, including printers.


Our country faces a double edged sword in keeping top secret intelligence secret and still maintaining our right to privacy.

Have you or anyone you know been tracked and surveilled through their printer?

Let us know your experiences in the comments below.













See all stories by N. Morgan


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