Rule #1: If you want something to be private, don’t broadcast it (even blurred out!) on TV

For a change, it’s not a password that is revealed.

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Hide your QR codes on TV, not just your passwords...

BBC News reports:

Two French hackers used their computer skills to reconstruct a blurred-out code on TV and claim bitcoins worth $1,000 (£760).

Michel Sassano and Clement Storck had seen an interview with entrepreneur Roger Ver on French television.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

Mr Ver had offered $1,000 to viewers – but a QR code needed to claim the money had been blurred out.

The duo analysed a small part of the code that was visible, however, and managed to access the funds.

Here’s the French TV report (en Francais, naturellement) which contained the blurred out code:

Complément d'enquête. Les millionnaires du bitcoin - 12 octobre 2017 (France 2)

Here’s the part of the QR code which was left unobscured for a brief moment in the report, alongside part of the blurred private key:

Revealed qr code

And here’s how Sassano and Storck managed to decode the private key.


Found this article interesting? Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter, Mastodon, or Threads to read more of the exclusive content we post.

Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.