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Do computers leave behind a digital fingerprint on files?


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So I'm watching Scorpion last night and yes I know it's TV so likely it's all science fiction. In the show, they mentioned that in the field of computer forensics they catch criminals based upon what's left behind. Supposedly each computer leaves behind traces even though the file looks the same. This made me think of how in the computer audiophile community there is so much talk over noise that's somehow transmitted while still being bit perfect. I know that tags can me modified and the file still sound the same so it doesn't sound so this concept doesn't sound so completely unrealistic. If there is truth to this concept in computer forensics, it could explain what some hear even though two files look the same. Does anyone here know if this is all made for tv or if there really are "digital fingerprints" on files?

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So I'm watching Scorpion last night and yes I know it's TV so likely it's all science fiction. In the show, they mentioned that in the field of computer forensics they catch criminals based upon what's left behind. Supposedly each computer leaves behind traces even though the file looks the same. This made me think of how in the computer audiophile community there is so much talk over noise that's somehow transmitted while still being bit perfect. I know that tags can me modified and the file still sound the same so it doesn't sound so this concept doesn't sound so completely unrealistic. If there is truth to this concept in computer forensics, it could explain what some hear even though two files look the same. Does anyone here know if this is all made for tv or if there really are "digital fingerprints" on files?

 

In general, no. The file they would be working with is a copy, nothing more, and doesn't have anything in it other than the data, unless it is specifically designed to do so. Like a ZIP file for instance, or metadata in a music file.

 

There are some special cases where it is possible, but those depend upon having physical media written by the computer in question, and even then, the results are not as reliable as say, a DNA test on a blood sample.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Heh (tip of the hat to Tom).

 

Since two different computers with different hardware, software, operating systems and so on can rip the same CD and get files with the same sha1 or md5 checksum, there can't be anything unique to the computer.

 

But then, on TV, all computers make a high-pitched whine, and all binoculars appear to have two non-parallel apertures when you look through them, even though in real life, it only looks like that if you drop them on the ground several times.

 

But the stuff about lizard aliens controlling the government is totally real.

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Perhaps the show writers were dropped on the ground several times.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Reminded, the other day, I started to re-read Sound is better from uncompressed downloaded files? Especially Cookie's Posts... For example, an extract :

High level scientist friends of mine working at IBM and elsewhere have studied and confirmed as much as a 10% loss of data when stored on hard drives in an annual period. This is of concern to me as a person responsible to maintaining recordings and I've hired staff to best deal with that situation. We maintain more than 1000 multitrack albums in our vaults.

 

My job is listening... it's what I do. If you don't hear the differences, so be it. I tested sending emails because I want to know what potential corruption might exist. But I should be clear... we often send email wav attachments within our organization and to clients as well as posting to FTP sites, etc. I want to know what happens to the data when it leave my computer. For our comparison testing of FLAC to 96, we downloaded the same links that our customers would be using.

 

As mentioned, we will offer FLAC because of the demand for metadata, speed of delivery and graphic files, not for sonic quality.

 

Understand that in the early days of Protools, I was told there was no degradation bouncing tracks internally... that it was just 'data'... and told from trusted sources on the inside or that organization. Those same people have gone on to other companies in the industry and have hired me at other companies consulting on sonics to test beyond reading the engineering data. Sound is in the ears, not in the eyes.

 

At Blue Coast Records, I control the recording process from beginning to consumer and am assured of the quality... or at least I control the degradation at all levels. Still, I can't guarantee the recordings I made for Universal or Rounder Records have the same standards held once in the delivered the masters.

 

I'm certain I can't compete with most of you on your knowledge of computer nomenclature. That's not my expertise. I'm sorry you don't hear the differences. I could probably teach you if you don't have an existing hearing loss.

 

Wouldn't you rather know that we've tested whether corruption occurs? Rather than finding out you've spent thousands of dollars on music that was corrupted? Believe me, I'm hoping to be wrong because it costs me money to test and deliver these huge files. As well, I was hoping to believe that the $1500 converter I bought sounded better than the free software I was given. It wasn't the case.

 

I want to know that we've delivered the best audio we can and have tested any concerns. FLAC was a concern, so we tested it. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Again, I'm glad we're discussing this. We may not agree, but, I'm happy to say that our customers have told us they want FLAC and we will provide. We always welcome ways to improve our systems.

 

Chris, have I told you how much I enjoy this forum? Smart people, great questions!

 

 

Thank you!

 

Cookie

Blue Coast Records | Exceptional Acoustic Recordings

Check it out for yourself...

 

Here's another teaser from CM :

I'm also very interested in the test of AIFF with metadata to WAV without metadata being of better quality. At Liquid Audio, I was part of early watermarking and metadata tests. Granted, it was [nearly 20] years ago, but the results of adding data did corrupt the sound.

 

We will release FLAC because of demand, but need to test the additional metadata inclusions on our WAV and AIFF for all computers, browsers and current operating systems before adding more metadata. We do supply limited metadata on our wav files but it is not recognized on all operating systems/machines.

 

let's keep this going. I welcome listening tests. I'm going offline until Monday.

 

enjoy

 

cookie

Blue Coast Records | Exceptional Acoustic Recordings

And me, it's 07:26 in New Zealand, need to go offline, start my day...

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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Heh (tip of the hat to Tom).

 

Since two different computers with different hardware, software, operating systems and so on can rip the same CD and get files with the same sha1 or md5 checksum, there can't be anything unique to the computer.

 

But then, on TV, all computers make a high-pitched whine, and all binoculars appear to have two non-parallel apertures when you look through them, even though in real life, it only looks like that if you drop them on the ground several times.

 

But the stuff about lizard aliens controlling the government is totally real.

 

You are brilliant Bill. I mean we knew that. We didn't know the extent of it. Absolutely brilliant.

 

The alien lizard hybrids control the gov't. Reptiles can point their two eyes in different directions. Reptiles would use binoculars that were non-parallel. Gov't reptiles control the movie industry as propaganda. They didn't realize when the gov't movie consultants insist on that view through binoculars they were betraying their reptilian genetics.

 

I guess my remaining question is if reptiles can listen differently with each ear the way their eyes work?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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You are brilliant Bill. I mean we knew that. We didn't know the extent of it. Absolutely brilliant.

 

The alien lizard hybrids control the gov't. Reptiles can point their two eyes in different directions. Reptiles would use binoculars that were non-parallel. Gov't reptiles control the movie industry as propaganda. They didn't realize when the gov't movie consultants insist on that view through binoculars they were betraying their reptilian genetics.

 

I guess my remaining question is if reptiles can listen differently with each ear the way their eyes work?

 

 

Love Shriekback.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Only recently did I realize that the NSA, in collusion with the recording industry, deliberately alters how the md5 and sha1 checksum utilities work, in order to fool us into thinking that there is no additional digital fingerprint residue left behind from processing on our computers. Were it not for those meddlesome audiophiles like Edward Snowden, SandyK and Cookie Marenco selflessly alerting everyone to this phenomenon, they would have got away with it.

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Only recently did I realize that the NSA, in collusion with the recording industry, deliberately alters how the md5 and sha1 checksum utilities work, in order to fool us into thinking that there is no additional digital fingerprint residue left behind from processing on our computers. Were it not for those meddlesome audiophiles like Edward Snowden, SandyK and Cookie Marenco selflessly alerting everyone to this phenomenon, they would have got away with it.

 

Oh dang... I guess they "right" the laws, so they just figured they could muck about with the laws of mathematics and physics too...

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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John Swenson who has worked in a HDD fabrication plant , has previously posted in C.A. that electrical noise is saved along with the binary data on the HDD, although he believes that the level is too low to cause problems.

John has also written a couple of interesting articles about how ground plane noise is transmitted between devices, as well as other interesting information.

 

Q&A with John Swenson. Part 1: What is Digital? | AudioStream

 

Q&A with John Swenson. Part 2: Are Bits Just Bits? | AudioStream

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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John Swenson who has worked in a HDD fabrication plant , has previously posted in C.A. that electrical noise is saved along with the binary data on the HDD, although he believes that the level is too low to cause problems.

 

And he also said that he couldn't imagine any mechanism by which such noise would survive copying the data to different media or transmitting the file over the Internet. In other words, the idea that this noise could be used to identify the originating computer makes little sense.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Only recently did I realize that the NSA, in collusion with the recording industry, deliberately alters how the md5 and sha1 checksum utilities work, in order to fool us into thinking that there is no additional digital fingerprint residue left behind from processing on our computers. Were it not for those meddlesome audiophiles like Edward Snowden, SandyK and Cookie Marenco selflessly alerting everyone to this phenomenon, they would have got away with it.

 

http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2013-09-10-I-might-be-a-spook.html

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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And he also said that he couldn't imagine any mechanism by which such noise would survive copying the data to different media or transmitting the file over the Internet. In other words, the idea that this noise could be used to identify the originating computer makes little sense.

I don't know how long ago he was working in HDD manufacturing, but data density is so much higher in a modern drive.

 

There have been theoretical papers about reading "deleted" data using an electron microscope, but even the authors of that no longer offer it as even a theory with higher density,

 

And of course SSD are a completely new kettle of fish...

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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And he also said that he couldn't imagine any mechanism by which such noise would survive copying the data to different media or transmitting the file over the Internet. In other words, the idea that this noise could be used to identify the originating computer makes little sense.

 

As usual, you manage to find another way to introduce something else in your reply that has nothing to do with the title of the thread, in yet another, never ending attempt by you to try and discredit my verified reports.

You haven't succeeded in the previous 5 years, and neither you or the arrogant and bullying Professor Scott ever will !

Thankfully, in the last 5 years or so, many members have found that there is much more to digital audio than a simple sequence of 1s and 0s which are transmitted in an ANALOGUE format to DACs.

 

We are NOT discussing copying or transmission here, we are discussing noise residuals that could be used to identify the computer used.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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We are NOT discussing copying or transmission here, we are discussing noise residuals that could be used to identify the computer used.

 

A forensics team trying to find the originating computer would obviously be working with a copy because the original is or was on the computer they are trying to identify.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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A forensics team trying to find the originating computer would obviously be working with a copy because the original is or was on the computer they are trying to identify.

 

They would need to examine the suspected original computer for verification, which they may quite likely have already seized.

Duh !

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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They would need to examine the suspected original computer for verification, which they may quite likely have already seized.

Duh !

 

Verified against what? A file that has a different noise signature because it is a copy?

 

D'oh !

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO37Ql91qqM

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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IGNORED.

I have better things to do than play your childish and malicious games.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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As usual, you manage to find another way to introduce something else in your reply that has nothing to do with the title of the thread, in yet another, never ending attempt by you to try and discredit my verified reports.

You haven't succeeded in the previous 5 years, and neither you or the arrogant and bullying Professor Scott ever will !

Thankfully, in the last 5 years or so, many members have found that there is much more to digital audio than a simple sequence of 1s and 0s which are transmitted in an ANALOGUE format to DACs.

 

We are NOT discussing copying or transmission here, we are discussing noise residuals that could be used to identify the computer used.

 

Here we go again:

 

low power frequency radio modulation

the big sound from underground

another pirate station

we bring the truth to places where truth is never heard before

we bring the sound communication of our tribal war

dark vision fly by helicopters in the night

attempt triangulation of our station in the fight

 

~ Michael Franti & Spearhead

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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Here we go again:

 

low power frequency radio modulation

the big sound from underground

another pirate station

we bring the truth to places where truth is never heard before

we bring the sound communication of our tribal war

dark vision fly by helicopters in the night

attempt triangulation of our station in the fight

 

~ Michael Franti & Spearhead

 

 

 

Stay human.

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A forensics team trying to find the originating computer would obviously be working with a copy because the original is or was on the computer they are trying to identify.

 

 

If you weren't such a closed-minded objectivist, you would realize there is the additional possibility that the forensic team might be trying to establish if the file was ever on the computer hard drive it was found to be on.

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