Here's how (on windows): download qpdf (http://qpdf.sourceforge.net/) and run
qpdf.exe -decrypt encrypted.pdf woho.pdf
# decrypt.sh mypdf.pdf
# the decrypted file will be named mypdf.pdf, while the old encrypted is now mypdf.pdf-encrypted.pdf
echo pdf to de-secure: $1
read -n 1 -s -p "Press any key to continue"
mv "$1" "$1"-encrypted.pdf
qpdf.exe -decrypt "$1-encrypted.pdf" "$1"
echo encrypted file is now named: $1-encrypted.pdf
echo decrypted file is: $1
When I want to "protect" a PDF, I print it as a TIFF and then PDF that document. It's less "protecting" than "making it difficult to alter or copy-paste from," but it works. (Also good for ensuring your redaction blobs can't be moved.)
But if it's say, as a friend recently experienced, a handout from a teacher in Corel Draw format, you bet your ass I'm uploading it to whatever the top google result for "convert corel draw to pdf online" is.
If you use the following GhostScript command it's still possible to select the text in the unprotected PDF.
"%ProgramFiles%\gs\gs9.22\bin\gswin64c.exe" -dSAFER -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sFONTPATH=%windir%/fonts;xfonts;. -sPDFPassword= -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dPassThroughJPEGImages=true -sOutputFile=Unprotected.pdf Protected.pdf
Since this is a common 'technique' to 'protect' PDF documents, as some PDF viewers (such as Adobe reader) won't allow selecting text on these 'protected' PDF's. It's so common that most PDF tools assume an empty string if no password is explicitly supplied.
Source: I run a SaaS that converts PDF invoices to structured data, so I've examined quite a few PDF files the last couple of years.
The semantics of the bits are described in ways that are very open to interpretation, and can be used to specify combinations of permissions that just don't make sense (example: allow content extraction for copy/paste, but don't allow content extraction for accessibility purposes, like screen readers for the blind). I suspect there are no two PDF parsers that handle that bitfield in the same way, and that it may not even be possible to implement support for it without baking in contradictions and unexpected behaviors (from a user's perspective at least). I'd be surprised if even Adobe's implementation handled it in its entirety.
Sending files to someone else is a problem with a ton of solutions, some of them better than others, but none of them actually solving the problem. Email often has size limits and spam filters block certain attachments. Dropbox is often restricted at most workplaces, and not everyone uses it. It also has size restrictions. USB is the most reliable, but then you get into the whole "it's NTFS formatted which doesn't work on my Linux machine" or it's HFS and I need to use it on Windows" nonsense, plus sending it longer distances takes days through the mail.
But converting documents... guys it's just electricity running through fancy sand. It shouldn't be that hard. I work on software where I'm often connected to a jump server without Office installed on it, and the software expects me to open a spreadsheet for troubleshooting. I was doing some audio recording recently and the hoops I had to jump through to save it as MP3 weren't insurmountable, but still pretty annoying.
And don't get me started on the Office 2003 spreadsheet that makes me boot up my Windows XP VM to open because the macros won't work on Office 2017. Or when I need to use Visio but there's no Mac version so I have to open my VM too.
And the web just makes it worse... no more software incompatibilities because when software isn't supported anymore, we just shut the servers down and everything is gone forever.
afaik they're uploaded to s3, not sent p2p.
IIRC Signal needs phone numbers.
So Mr Manafort should chose Tox over Signal in any future crimes.
https://keybase.io/docs/kbfs has more info
-- edit - I realized the URL might make it look like a slanted political article, but it's more about the law than it is about politics. The article author is the same guy that runs the Popehat website.
You really need professional coaching in order to talk to them. You'll have to program yourself to say things like "in my opinion..." or "in my memory of that event..." or "hypothetically, if..."
It's really counterproductive. Because any conceivable response could incriminate the respondent, the interviewee can plead the 5th to anything they are asked, including "is water wet?"
There are tons of "blue laws" in the US, some from over a hundred years back. Sometimes the police decide to enforce those. One such occasion precipitated the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence vs. Texas.
Typically you'll see 70 or 75 on US highways now. To go much higher, the US is going to have to up its road construction & maintenance game, as the German autobahn is maintained at considerably higher quality.
If you are going the same speed as the person to your right, you are in the wrong lane.
People just have no clue. The number of times I've seen some overloaded U-Haul lumber over to the left lane and just sit there as it struggles to get up hills is supremely aggravating.
I don't like passing on the right and will avoid it when I can, but I also don't like being in a traffic clump and will always look for ways to escape it or avoid getting trapped in it. If I have to pass you on the right to avoid getting pincered by the clump of traffic coming up behind me, I will.
German living in Germany here: er, no. Typical is slighly more than +10%. If you keep to the speed limit, people behind you will get upset.
My one trip to Germany was in Stuttgart in the early 2000's, and it was my German coworkers who made that observation. The car ride I took seemed to corroborate it.
Has it always been that way, or has it changed over time?
But I often see people get in the fast lane not because they want to go faster than the adjacent lane, but rather because they have more than one person in the car and they just feel entitled to use the fast lane regardless of how fast they want to drive. Like, they don't understand the concept of lanes being related to speed, and are just thinking, "hey I'm a carpool, I get to drive in the carpool lane!" or something.
I've seen people in 20-year-old Chrysler minivans packed full of kids go all the way over to the fast lane and proceed to drive 10 under the speed limit, followed by a parade of cars passing them on the right because WTF. I can only assume that they literally don't understand that if the other people in their lane are going faster than they are, they're supposed to move over to a slower lane. Or they just don't think about it at all. I have no idea.
* The winner, though? A fully loaded semi: http://www.startribune.com/trucker-charged-over-roaring-by-s...
"I gotta be places". Or, less politely, "Fuck you, I got mine."
You may get pulled over. If you're cool about it and appear sober, you may just get a warning.
If things look more askance, you'll be put through sobriety tests.
Three Felonies a Day
Harvey Silverglate's claims are like the Hot Coffee case. It makes for a good sound byte but when you actually look into the details the truth is the exact opposite of what was claimed.
It seems to me that concentrated benefits and diffuse costs seems to skew US laws towards, say, tyranny. We just don't realize it until it's prosecuted like we are conditioned to think tyranny presents itself. I imagine there are plenty of people in the US that already feel it as if living under the US legal system is already tyranny.
BTW - is "tyranny" even the right word for this? I feel like when federal prosecutors only have to actually present their case in 2% of charges to juries by using/abusing the plea bargain system to scare the defendant into submission with a ridiculous opening bid, it feels like something odious.
(Yes, it was really my friend and not me.)
My wife was driving my pickup on the freeway late at night; I'm in the passenger seat dozing, sleeping off a party we went to.
Anyhow, she's pulling over and I see the red and blues flashing around us, and I'm wondering what's going on. She's asking me where I keep my registration. We stop, and the cop stops behind us.
Then a second pulls in behind him. I'm sitting there wondering WTF because the worst thing I can think is wrong is a burned out tail light...
Cops come up on both sides; we roll down our windows, cops shine flashlights around within the vehicle - my head is pounding, thanks guy...
Cop asks my wife: "Why did you pull over?"
My wife replies: "Because you had your lights on, blipped the siren, and pulled us over...?"
Cop then says: "...Go on, get outta here."
We're both looking at each other like "WTF was that about?" - but my wife pulls out, gets up to speed, stays at the speed limit, then gets off at the nearest exit. We take surface streets home.
To this day, I have no idea what it was about.
 Just so people don't get the wrong idea, I am generally a very cautious driver, there were the only two speeding related encounters in 15+ years.
You can't say "I don't know," either, because that sets you up for some variation on negligent driving.
The safest response for the court record is "I don't answer questions without legal counsel present," but that is likely to provoke the cop into ensuring that there will be a court record.
That's pretty standard; nearly every traffic stop I've witnessed or heard about contains that line.
I believe they do it because -- assuming you give a truthful/correct answer -- it makes it less likely you'll contest the ticket, and if you do, they can tell the judge, "when I asked why they thought I'd pulled them over, they told me it was because they were speeding". If you admit to the infraction, you don't really have much of a leg to stand on in court.
Of course, since many cops will retaliate against smartasses, the de facto standard answer is "I don't know. Why did you pull me over?" This is always truthful, correct, and non-incriminating, because you can't be expected to read the cop's mind.
speed limits, imperfect stops, improper turns from a stop, unsafe lane change, following too closely, breaking too fast...
The problem with a lot of these is the definitions contain imprecise terms subject to an officers whims of interpretation.
And that's just driving. Many laws are just ridiculous and you don't even know they exist to avoid breaking them.
Google "never talk to cops" for an interesting video from a law prof and a cop.
To have the analytical bent to think through all the risks you're exposed to in your criminal financial dealings and to take steps to reduce those risks probably also means you're able to realize (1) you can only reduce the risks so much so that a substantial possibility that you'll lose everything continues to exist; and (2) there are a lot of not-unambiguously-illegal ways to make money and acquire power capitalizing on your excellent analytical abilities.
Martin Shkreli is a perfect example of a CEO that can get canned when it is decided he should be.
And unless someone is an incredibly paranoid person which has the privacy routines ingrained in their DNA, everyone does make stupid mistakes every once in a while.
But not always true. No one's figured out Satoshi Nakamoto yet.
But yes, you're correct it's not a forever and always thing.
And 'ol Ross had a whole journal of his illegal activity sitting right on his hard drive.
They did and the bananas thing is he also very nearly did get away with it anyway - a plea deal under which he could have walked away with time served + a few months was available to him. Fortunately, his own hubris got him 15 to life.
Just because nobody has published it?
Is that a fact?
The entire inventory of the store is barely worth 25K, I assume he must have been loading up on gift cards a la Mexican drug lords (http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/10/drug-lords-using-gift-car...).
$21,300 for his meds. The remaining ~4,000 maybe just fell out of his wallet.
That's not to say that he couldn't have learned were he interested, but his daily life had very little intersection with this kind of thing until he spiraled into a hole of debt, at which point "do I trust this person" ranked a lot higher than "how are this person's technical skills?"
"Paper trail? There was no paper! How could there be a trail!?"
The "e" in "e-mail" stands for "evidence." :)
(Or at least for those who the FT thinks would pay for a subscription)
Window management in Windows GUI:
1. Usage of File Menu and/or Ribbon Menu
2. Knowledge of Word's PDF integration
File System knowledge:
1. What a "file" is
2. What "file formats" are
3. What a PDF is
4. That a word document can be saved or printed as a PDF
Etc etc etc
I work with non-technical folks all the time and printing/saving as PDF comes up often.
Usually in most cases I can install a PDF printer and let them "print to PDF" and they can understand it, but before they know the process, they look at me like I'm speaking Latin when I try to describe what files are, what PDFs are, what conversion is, what the file menu is used for, etc.
HN readers who don't work with non-technical users may not realize just how lost and unable to explore many people are, particularly when they didn't grow up with computers. There's also a huge problem with "dialog blindness."
If you have an understanding of how "computers" (hardware, OS, apps, websites, doesn't matter it's all the same mystery box) work then you can explore with less fear. I deal with people in their 20s and 30s who don't grasp that a "scanner XYZ not found" error may mean that they should look for a way to select a scanner. Many of my older end users are clearly using a lot of software entirely by rote, though it's definitely not limited to them.
Can probably go to 55-58 for people who have degrees; ie people who used computers during Uni education.
If you're older you've probably had 20 years with computers in the workplace save for some niches, seems long enough to learn to use a simple point-click menu.
None of that means that he actually understands what is happening behind the scenes. Odds are good that his college exposure to computers was limited to Hollerith cards used for registration.
Put differently, Manafort is from the generation that indents in word processors by hitting space 4-5 times.
He knew enough to attach the file to an e-mail and send it to someone else asking for a PDF version. So the only piece of missing knowledge here appears to be finding the option in word's menus.
"On February 11, 2011, another trader, Trader E, wrote to Trader C: 'shall we spoof.' Trader C responded: 'sure.'
Even the most minimalist 2018-era bank compliance program would at least teach traders not to use the word 'spoof' in a recorded electronic chat, but a decade ago our primitive forebears did not quite understand the problem."
I'm having trouble buying any other explanation than, "This absurdly overcomplicated workflow introduced by conventional office software not designed to cover its tracks didn't cover its own tracks" as plausible.
Back to the privacy point, we are currently going through NIST 800-53 at work. We only need 800-171 but we thought the 800-53 standard would make us a better organization. So many things I didn’t think of. Do you have a micro-cut shredder first of all? Those Enron-esque cross-cut shredders don’t cut it anymore with open source machine learning that can easily reassemble those documents. Also, do you have an access code for your printer so the document only prints when he/she is up there, and doesn’t get left throughout the day in the tray for prying eyes? Also are your servers currently sitting in inventory up high on the shelves in case water gets into the building? So many things...
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D7H8XB6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_zCfK...
The austerity and economic issues are very tiny part of the contrast here, the real damage is the instability in an already fragile region of the world and the machinations to act against the interests of almost all parties in the region except for the Russians.
It’s my hope that “financial crimes” are just going to be a convenient way to indict the many many people who have committed crimes like him.
Back in 2016, a weird / interesting / pretty smart idea in Clinton’s platform was to help the US deficit by only enforcing current tax laws. Lol that’s all it was, enforcing the laws that were already there to raise an additional 100 billion+ in revenue every year. It makes you think how many people are committing tax fraud at this very moment...
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-01-25/climate-c... and the linked https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-11-06/exxon-mig... are the examples I've found so far, but I remember him making the comment repeatedly.
They often are. Despite the many actually heinous crimes he committed, Al Capone was ultimately nailed for tax evasion.
That's interesting! When I googled for this, I found a few papers, but nothing like a git repository. Do you have more information?
Quick history refresher: Pompeii was an ancient Roman city-town near Naples. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79, Pompeii was covered in ~15 feet of lava and volcanic ash. One imagines that this was highly distressing to the residents of Pompeii, but none were available for comment as they were all busy being incinerated. I guess we'll never know how they really felt about it.
Then sometime in the 1900s a group of workers were excavating the area for a new project. They had been burning these odd little bits of coal they'd found. Imagine the horror when someone realized the "coal" was actually old manuscripts that had crumpled up into little balls of carbon due to the volcanic eruption. The workers had been burning priceless ancient Roman artifacts!
Researchers were able to mechanically separate some of the manuscripts, and with the aid of modern computer vision systems, we've been able to read some of them. It's quite an amazing story.
So I guess you probably want to spend the extra $20 and spring for the really good incinerator on Amazon. You don't want future historians literally digging through your incriminating financial documents.
Uncontrolled fires, and things burning under a blanket of ash, will not have sufficient oxygen in some places, will have CO as a reaction product instead of just CO2, and may leave unburnt carbon. Think about how charcoal is made--oxygen-free pyrolysis.
The waste product of a document incinerator is ash, water, and CO2. It is literally impossible to recover any information content from it.
>Try it in Adobe Acrobat (via the “Save as Other” command under “File” on a Mac) and you’ll quickly be redirected to Adobe’s website and presented with a handful of subscription packages that will allow you to transform your documents. [...] Indeed, it’s probably a little safer, all things considered.
If I was doing shady stuff the last thing I'd want to do is send my incriminating documents to some 3rd party service. That being said I would also probably not send them over the clear in emails either.
It's pretty insane how cavalier people are with email security (or lack thereof). I can't imagine that they would be so lenient if they were sending each other the files over regular mail. I think most people simply don't realize how thoroughly unsecure stock email is, you're basically lending an open postcard over the internet and you can be sure that a bunch of copies are made along the way. It's pretty much the worst way to share sensitive documents online short of posting them on facebook.
To capture incriminating physical mail, the authorities have to already be monitoring you at the time you send the documents. With email they are typically able to go back and capture emails from days, weeks, and years prior.
I know I'm nitpickig, but the USPS photographs of all pieces of mail and digitizes it. This information is considered metadata and is not protected against unwarranted searches, so postcards are much worse (for privacy), because even the small-town PD can get access to them without having to look for an "IT guy" to help. Email requires assistance from a TLA agency (or a search warrant served to the mail provider).
Thanks, I had no idea.
While doing some genealogy recently I found that a distant ancestor had unclaimed mail in the post office shortly before he died.
I found it vaguely amusing to envision walking in and asking for it now, 125 years later; I guess some distant descendant of mine might be able to ask for a photo of mail I'd sent or received.
I noticed that when I select a region of text with a mouse, the retracted' black text becomes white text over black background. It revealed name of our competitor, addressees and numbers in their offer, the whole retraction was just a typographic trick.
When in doubt, print -> scan -> convert to pdf.
I compared documents and maybe not surprisingly, they seemed relatively minor points.
"I attempted to transform my Word draft of this blog post into a PDF. I confess that I did fumble a bit at first (it’s been a while), but I eventually managed to get the job done. According to my stopwatch, the full ordeal took me 42 seconds."
When the real problem ws turning a PDF into Word.
Another example: I seem to recall a case awhile back where Word change-tracking contained sensitive information even though “the document” didn’t seem to.
Sadly it used to be easy to rely on plain text implicitly but then we made Unicode so complicated that you have to be careful there too. Fingerprinting through zero-width sequences, etc. is essentially unnoticeable if you do not actively look for it.
Where he fell down was in the actual conversion step, and in failing to realize that his email to Gates about the conversion were themselves a history of the edit. But his technical instincts were sound. If all Mueller had was that final PDF, he wouldn't have been able to detect the fraud (absent some other info, that is).
 Obviously "PDF" is a histoically complicated format and some versions have features that might allow tracking. But the PDF/A documents emitted by typical "export" tools are stateless representations of printed documents, AFAIK.
Word has a Document Inspector  that cleans up documents’ histories. He had it converted back to a PDF because that’s the format (a) the original document was in and (b) most bank documents are provided as.
Metadata can be removed, and PDF signing can cryptographically prove a file has not been edited or modified, but it is similarly not typically the standard choice for a conversion tool.
The better (technically, not legally) approach might be to directly edit the PDF, though I'm not sure what the tooling is like there.
Authorship and metadata? No, that is often still present, and many tools will include author and software data by default.
Layers? No, PDFs can have extensive layers.
Surely in the context of the episode we're talking about: the discovery of the $4M in fraudulent income claimed in the document. In the Word document, that edit would be discoverable. In PDF it is not.
You seem to be making an abstract argument about "PDF security" here. The point of the subthread is a practical point about whether Manafort was correctly generating a fraudulent document or whether he was being a technical rube. He was doing the fraud the right way.
Edit: and based on the information provided in these news reports, he was being a massive technology rube.
I'm sure you are. But in the process you are spamming an only tangentially related subthread with the clear implication that PDFs store editting history in the way Word documents do (they don't). This is doing the opposite of what you want.
No one here is talking about "editing PDFs" or making PDFs "secure from editting", so your points are only confusing the matter.
The document becomes uneditable by most commonly used PDF readers (Adobe Reader DC, web browsers, etc.). You can still edit it, but changing the actual content becomes substantially more difficult.
Manafort is not a smart man.
These programs should protect user privacy by stripping identifying information by default, allowing the user the option to preserve it.
All technology should protect its users by default, otherwise everyone is at risk, not just the bad guys.
I don't think that's fair to say. You can literally import PDF files in Word via the most common File > Open dialog.  You can also save as PDF in Word via the File > Save As dialog.  These are not exactly some obscure hidden functions.
Also he was not failed by a piece of software. They recovered the document from his email. How would his email strip the document of identifying information?
When you deal with Russians crooks and people in those circles, you tend to lower your guard. You think you will not get caught "because in Ukraine they had money in suitcases," or through a gazillion shell companies. The funny thing is that he might have just gotten away, if he wasn't involved in the Trump campaign. Call it greed or money mismanagement, but knowing when to quit may mean life or death (kinda)
Manafort pleading innocent could be a strategy to appear as the victim of the "deep state".
You can plead however you want to, but if the evidence is crystal clear, you're toast. Even if Trump pardons him, NY would step in http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/333370-ny-ag-investi... , apparently a lot of the laundering took place in NY (get paid in foreign bank from foreign sources; don't declare to IRS+State; pay suppliers and mortgages from that account directly, without declaring it. Millions and millions of it, not chump change)
Decisions, decisions. Give up Trump (if he is hiding something) and kinda go to witness protection because they'll get sued for decades or life in jail.
Hindsight is always 20/20 I guess.
Separate OT: Do we know any political party that colluded, in primaries? Or that received foreign $? Or used 'bots' to make it seem like they have support? Or that had it's operatives use state instruments to disrupt the opposing party?
Manafort was campaign chairman and is alleged to have convinced Trump to change positions on Ukraine as a a result of outside funds. Hence investigating money laundering is directly relevant to Mueller's remit.
Where can I find the source for: 'Manafort was campaign chairman and is alleged to have convinced Trump to change positions'.
Also, what is your feeling on amount and frequency Dems were actually paid directly by foreign govs?