Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Xerox copiers caught switching numbers on scanned documents

A German researcher discovered that some common Xerox copiers are changing numbers on scanned document, it was reported on Tuesday.

David Kriesel said that the issues were not related to OCR -- the function was turned off, to prevent that -- nor were they related to simple pixel errors. Instead, the document simply had different numbers. In one example, it was an eight instead of a six, and in another a one instead of a two.

Kriesel said the problem appeared to be caused by an error in Jbig2 image compression on the affected copiers. The following models are said to be affected, although Kriesel only tested the 7535 and 7556 himself.
  • WorkCentre 7530
  • WorkCentre 7328
  • WorkCentre 7346
  • WorkCentre 7545
  • WorkCentre 7535
  • WorkCentre 7556
  • Xerox ColorQube 9203
  • Xerox ColorQube 9201
A possible workaround appears to be increasing the quality of the scan. This has not been fully tested, however.

Niri Shan, a partner at London-based law firm Taylor Wessing, said the bug could raise some interesting legal complications.
The person who provided the figures would be liable [for any issues]. Then the question would be, could they turn round to the photocopying company and say, "Hold on a minute, this is your fault."

Often in commercial contracts, the manufacturer may have limitations of liability on consequential loss.
Xerox has not yet addressed the issue.

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