Of course it will work -- Absolutely -- Unless I did something wrong



  • In the latest tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory to hit the news, it's being alleged that if you take a screenshot in World of Warcraft it contains a watermark with a variety of data encoded into it, including your user ID, the time the screenshot was captured and the IP address of the server you were on at the time.  Although there seems to be some evidence to confirm that this is true,  it could also just be a case of  "Hey look, the kiddies discovered jpeg artifacts".  Anyway, someone has created a patch to disable the watermarking which led to this exchange that I found amusing (emphasis added by me):


    [quote user=""]Quote Originally Posted by Sendatsu 

    What are the chances of your PatchBytes corrupting the <acronym title="World of Warcraft">WoW</acronym> client?
     
    The program checks that the bytes at the address are valid before patching, so unless I did
    something wrong, it shouldn't ever happen
    .[/quote]Way to state the obvious, eh?

     

     

     



  • Which part of it is obvious? What I can gather from it is that it makes sure the patched (ie. changed) bytes are what they are supposed to be. That is, if you are running a different version of WoW, or it was changed in some random other way, the patch would fail. Hence a corruption can't result from an incompatible version, but only from a bug in the author's patch.

    He could've worded it better, but who cares?



  •  Surely it would have been easier to remove the barcodes from the actual screenshots? They all go into a particular directory, wouldn't cause any issues just monitoring it for new screenshots and apply some sort of fixing filter afterwards. Hell, the very act of saving the jpeg out again would introduct artefacts which would make the barcodes less accurate, maybe even to the point of being useless?



  • If those are not JPEG artifacts I will eat my hat*.

     

    * My hat is made of chocolate.



  • Obligatory "surely the correct steganography-defeating method involves a camcorder screenshot merged and printed out onto a wooden table then reshot" meme post.



  • Courtesy of the linked thread, [url=http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/883/outputk.png]here are your jpeg artifacts[/url].

    Unless that's also a forgery, it looks like the tinfoil hat brigade may be on to something this time.

     



  • On Slashdot, someone brought a very rational theory to the table: This watermark popped up during the WotLK-Alpha, back when they were still serious about NDAs and stuff not-leaking and all. Thus it stands to reason that they used those watermarks to find people leaking screenshots of the alpha.

    And then never turned the feature off. I mean, exactly what are you supposed to do with the ip adress of the server you're playing on, your account id (_not_ the actual account info you're using to login) and a timestamp?



  • @curtmack said:

    If those are not JPEG artifacts I will eat my hat*.

     

    * My hat is made of chocolate.

    If I had a hat made of chocolate, I'd eat it either way.



  • It's really hard for me to care about this for three reasons:

    1) I don't think Blizzard's actually doing anything wrong, legally or morally

    2) It's trivial to turn it off by just upping your screenshot quality or switching to non-compressed TGA screenshots (which anybody who takes screenshots already does anyway)

    3) Everybody still playing WOW in 2012 is a complete loser, so who gives a shit what they think?



  • @lethalronin27 said:

    @curtmack said:

    If those are not JPEG artifacts I will eat my hat*.

     

    * My hat is made of chocolate.

    If I had a hat made of chocolate, I'd eat it either way.

     

    The one thing I wouldn't do with it is putting on my head.

     By the way, who TF uses stenography without encrypting the data first?

     



  • @Mcoder said:

    By the way, who TF uses stenography without encrypting the data first?

     

    I'd say most [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_reporter]Court stenographers[/link], secretaries, or journalists. Those employing [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography]steganography[/link], on the other hand, should be using some encryption.



  •  I dabble in stegosaurography now and then.



  • @dhromed said:

     I dabble in stegosaurography now and then.

    ouch

     



  • @dhromed said:

     I dabble in stegosaurography now and then.

    Literal meaning: drawing ears on the ceiling.

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    Literal meaning: drawing ears on the ceiling.
     

    dhromed's just gained inspiration for some new pliv doodles.



  • @Cassidy said:

    dhromed's just gained inspiration for some new pliv doodles.
     

    Oh, I should totally not be a lazy motherfucker and modify my site to point to http://batterpunts.tumblr.com/ or redesign it or something.



  • @DCRoss said:

    Courtesy of the linked thread, here are your jpeg artifacts.

    Unless that's also a forgery, it looks like the tinfoil hat brigade may be on to something this time.

     

    That seems a little more plausible than the image I saw. The methodology in the OP of the linked thread relies on JPEG artifacting to reproduce the code; I suspect it's actually stored in the least-significant bits or something like that, which makes more sense and explains why the OP couldn't use his method with quality 10.

    I'm still not convinced the guy understands anything about what he's talking about, though. The only real thing Blizzard could do with this is detect people on unofficial servers (or, as explained above, find NDA violators). As far as hacker abuse goes, I think the only thing you could do is link alt characters to a single account, which isn't really meant to be a secret (and there are plenty of social engineering methods to find the same information).

     


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