Check Washing

I can’t believe that check washing is still a thing:

“Check washing” is a practice where thieves break into mailboxes (or otherwise steal mail), find envelopes with checks, then use special solvents to remove the information on that check (except for the signature) and then change the payee and the amount to a bank account under their control so that it could be deposited at out-state-banks and oftentimes by a mobile phone.

The article suggests a solution: stop using paper checks.

Posted on November 30, 2020 at 9:22 AM54 Comments


kiwano November 30, 2020 9:30 AM

I wonder if a UK publication is spelling cheque as “check” because they’re describing an American problem…

David Rudling November 30, 2020 9:41 AM

Interesting that unlike paper checks, paper ballots are still generally regarded as the gold standard of voting. One can only hope that the process is too lengthy and involved for “ballot paper washing” to be a credible risk.

Chris November 30, 2020 9:46 AM

The alternatives to paper checks have plenty of problems too, as readers of this blog know. One of the biggest problems is that many of the protective laws built over time for checks do not apply to electronic transactions.

Eberton November 30, 2020 9:52 AM

well, no evidence presented that check-washing is actually “increasing” over previous historical levels.

Is credit card fraud still a big thing, or is it decreasing ?

Checks are still very useful … or people would not still be using them on a large scale.

xcv November 30, 2020 9:52 AM

@David Rudling

if “check washing” is still a thing could “ballot paper washing” be a thing [?]

This being a security blog — out of respect for our kind host — it might be better to focus on the technical details and ways to secure against this type of fraid rather than any specific financial or politically charged applications.

One can only hope that the process is too lengthy and involved

People used to count on getting checks in the mail. Now direct deposit is the norm.

I used to get bank statements in the mail until I discovered that about 1/3 of them went missing, either never mailed or lost/stolen in the mail: and the banks were only too happy to issue statements online only.

Russian and Ukrainian organized crime networks have capitalized enormously on online banking, but voting remains “old-fashioned” — so perhaps it is timely to review “old-school” check-washing and document-forging techniques.

Suzanne November 30, 2020 10:31 AM

“Ballot washing” would be difficult at any sort of scale that would make a difference.

Ballot tampering in general has always been a possibility that is dealt with by having people from all sides of the election present during voting, counting, and reporting.

That’s why paper ballots are considered the “gold standard”. The voter can check the same information the election officials can hand count and the candidates can physically be there to supervise. Anything digital can’t be supervised to that extent.

Suzanne November 30, 2020 10:33 AM

Check washing is why I always take checks to the post office. We’ve had checks stolen from our home mail box. Canceled them before anyone tried anything, fortunately.

Snarki, child of Loki November 30, 2020 10:57 AM

Doesn’t this assume that banks in this modern age actually verify signatures?
Because it’s not so clear that they do. Certainly not so much for check endorsements on the back, maybe not even on the front.

Michael November 30, 2020 11:11 AM

Is there any reason the electronic transfer system used throughout Europe (and beyond) wouldn’t work in the US? With your account number (IBAN) I can transfer Euros to you in any Eurozone country instantly and for free from my phone anywhere. Works well for recurring transactions (bill pay, rent, whatever), you can schedule in advance, etc. etc. It even works outside the Eurozone but, of course, you pay currency exchange fees. Seems secure enough for Europe and has completely eliminated paper checks in many countries. Canada also has a similar system (Interac) which isn’t free but loads better than checks. Why does the US rely on third parties (credit cards, Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.) rather than establishing a banking standard?

TimH November 30, 2020 11:15 AM

I’ve paid checks in at the ATM with slight mis-spellings of my name without any problem. Also, never signed the back of the check. At a teller, the same check with slight mis-spelling is rejected, and signing insisted on. Hence I have been trained to use the ATM.

tim November 30, 2020 11:34 AM

I still receive a paper check for a couple of things monthly. I’ve noticed that banks are getting more stringent on how the check is written and endorsed. For instance I can’t deposit a check to one of my banks through the app unless it has a clear endorsement on the back with the word “mobile” is used. There are also other checks for the signature on the front. This is not all banks but its a trend I’ve been seeing in the last year or two.

But now with venmo and Apple Pay with the ability to just send money directly to someone – those checks are now going away.

tim November 30, 2020 11:40 AM


Is there any reason the electronic transfer system used throughout Europe (and beyond) wouldn’t work in the US

In the US there has been systems in place for decades to pay bill online and transfer cash from one bank account to another. But the user experience (and fees in some cases) where horrible. Venmo, Apple Pay, etc “fixed” the user experience and fee problem for most people.

Etienne November 30, 2020 12:07 PM

I write one paper check a year. My property tax.

The reason is they have a surcharge for credit card, and you can’t go and pay at the counter, because it requires parking fees and going through a security line where they take your shoes and molest you looking for nuclear weapons.

Third, my credit union does not allow paying taxes using online banking. I have tried, and they revoked it almost immediately.

Randolf McInley November 30, 2020 12:19 PM

@kiwano the Guardian has UK, Australian and US versions and given the content I guess the article was written for the US version.

It always surprises me that the US (and to some degree Australia and an New Zealand) still use cheques. I can’t remember the last one I wrote here (UK), I think it was for the guy who cleans our windows about three years ago. But then our banking is generally free at point of use, which we pay for by having lower deposit interest rates than certainly Australia and New Zealand (don’t know about US) where they seem to pay for every transaction.

James November 30, 2020 12:20 PM

I’m amazed check washing is still a thing. It’s been nearly 2 decades since “Catch Me If You Can” was released. Frank Abagnale must be at it again.

You would think people would learn. Banks made changes to the paper long ago to have it react with “standard” chemicals (acetone, bleach, correction fluid, etc.) used for check washing. I guess they missed the new chemicals?

So is the point to force everyone to online payments that are more easily tracked?

Haakon November 30, 2020 1:04 PM

If one absolutely has no choice but to write a check, the uni-ball 207 pen should be used. The 1.0mm point size will put the most ink on the paper but it seems the 0.7 is the one enjoying the most retail presence.

I use this pen for any legal stuff I need to scribble on. That included filling in those little Dominion circles on the ballot last month.

Winter November 30, 2020 1:06 PM

“Is there any reason the electronic transfer system used throughout Europe (and beyond) wouldn’t work in the US?”

Because USA banks do not want to transfer client’s money to another bank. The rates are horrible. As a result, Americans still live in the financial 1960s.

In Europe, electronic money transfers have been forced upon the banking sector.

Steve Friedl November 30, 2020 1:16 PM

For payroll checks, one countermeasure is what’s known as “positive pay”, where the payroll service transmits to the bank a list of all checks paid on this payroll run, including check number and amount, and banks check against this transmission; it’s just about impossible to wash a check when positive pay is in use.

I would also imagine that check washing would be super easy with mobile banking where you take a picture of the check: just Photoshop whatever you want, print it, then use that to submit.

William November 30, 2020 1:49 PM

What surprised me more is that the account data isn’t just copied off the check and new ones printed on check stock. It’s not like laser printers and MICR toner are exactly rare these days.

kai November 30, 2020 3:05 PM

I can’t believe that checks are still such a big thing in the USA. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check, it would have been at least 10 years ago.

Bank Cheques are still occasionally used to purchase high-value items, especially in private sales. Personal cheques are almost unheard of, especially in private sales.

I have one or two clients who pay me via cheque instead of EFT, but the vast majority of my clients use EFT for payments, and I pay all of my vendors on credit card or via EFT myself.

I had a problem with Stripe recently, for some reason (something to do with their backend) they were unable to pay out to my bank account. Their solution was that I needed a standard “checking” account with my bank. They couldn’t believe me when I said that practically no-one here actually has a cheque account, and a standard account is actually a savings account. They insisted that trying to use a savings account was the reason that their systems couldn’t pay out to my bank account and that I must use a cheque account. As it turns out, that wasn’t the reason at all, but it was very telling their fixation on this as an issue.

Here all the main banks have a Pay ID system set up. You register your preferred ID with your bank (it can be anything, an email address, a phone number, any unique information) and then anyone else can pay you instantly via your Pay ID. You can make payments via your internet banking, or via mobile apps, and there are no fees for the transaction.

All stores here accept contactless payments. I bought some food at a take-away shop yesterday, I think it came to $4.90. Tapped my phone and paid on card. No transaction fees to me, and no handling any cash. November 30, 2020 3:43 PM

TL;DR. But cheques are not used here anymore. Not even the good old Eurocheques that had a bank backing (up to some $200) if you wrote the Eurocheue’s card number on the cheque. Because they do not exist anymore…

I believe even in France they stopped using cheques.

MikeA November 30, 2020 3:50 PM


ability to just send money directly to someone

Folks in the US at least,and almost certainly other places, have been able to
send money to someone, over communication links, for over a century. The hard part is getting the money sent to the person you want it to go to, rather than just “someone”.

Not to say the US banking system could not use quite an overhaul, but then I would not hold my breath for that to be an improvement.

xcv November 30, 2020 4:19 PM

The other problem with checks is vice.

Checks are basically only for ladies with a certain level of “respect” in the community, or only for companies with women in the office to handle them, under “girl gang” codes of Omertà.

Otherwise checks are commonly “lost” in the mail, and your credit is damaged for failing to pay your bills, even though you could have sworn you sent the check in the mail, balanced your checkbook, had sufficient funds, etc., etc.

Dates or amounts are altered, or checks are held back as long a month or even up to 90 days after you wrote them, then unexpected disaster hits, and other charges are applied to your account, or the account is closed due to identity theft before an arrest warrant is issued for the identity theft victim/defendant who wrote a check with insufficient funds.

Identity theft is a true failsafe, victimless, non-violent crime, because the victim “is” the defendant, and typically must answer for any criminal charges, pay restitution, return any stolen property purchased with checks, and forfeit any fraudulently obtained wages or business profits in the associated bank account. November 30, 2020 4:40 PM

@xcv: A cheque cannot be forged or whatever if you cross it and write “not negotiable” and “account payee only”.

Simple as. November 30, 2020 4:42 PM

I’ve paid checks in at the ATM with slight mis-spellings of my name without any problem. Also, never signed the back of the check. At a teller, the same check with slight mis-spelling is rejected, and signing insisted on. Hence I have been trained to use the ATM.

xcv November 30, 2020 4:53 PM

@xcv: A cheque cannot be forged or whatever if you cross it and write “not negotiable” and “account payee only”.

Simple as.

Not really. That’s too many motorcycle-club “endorsements” and “restrictions” just as on the drivers’ licenses you are required to present as I.D. with the aforementioned checks.

That’s why they chemically wash the checks, and leave enough details “true” to incriminate the victim as the defendant in the crime.

Also, people are held up and forced to write checks against their will.

SpaceLifeForm November 30, 2020 5:20 PM

A check perforator is still a thing.

Most people do not know what they are, nor have one.

vas pup November 30, 2020 5:36 PM

@Bruce stated:

“Check washing” is a practice where thieves break into mailboxes (or otherwise steal mail)…

Maybe address the root problem: vulnerability and unreliability of mail chain security – at least security of mail boxes?

Mail vulnerability let doubt other things like votes my mail.

By the way, I guess it should two separate ballots: one for all state level electoral positions and separate – for federal officials. For latter ballots should be sent to separate address, certification of count and election results should involved participation of federal judges. But No, it is not going to work – logic is not in charge.

Dave November 30, 2020 5:38 PM

I can’t believe cheques are still a thing. They were discontinued here I-don’t-know-how-many-years ago, and even at that time no-one under the age of about seventy used them.

xcv November 30, 2020 6:12 PM


I can’t believe cheques are still a thing. They were discontinued here I-don’t-know-how-many-years ago, and even at that time no-one under the age of about seventy used them.

No matter how old-fashioned it may seem, occasionally it is still necessary to write a check, and to have that check honored by the bank, on sufficient funds in the account on which it is drawn.

ReadTheFinePrint November 30, 2020 6:29 PM

I switched back from electronic banking to Checks. My bank rolled out a new electronic banking app, complete with a new license agreement. I actually read the new click-through license. A lot of these licenses are really horrible! (Like Nintendo’s bit where I assume all financial liability for any fraud on my account.)

As far as I can tell, my bank was offering no security. If somebody went up to my bank and said they were me, my bank was free to give them all my money, and I was shit out of luck. And much, much worse. License gave Bank the right to decide where & when I could spend my money, what I could buy, where I could shop. I couldn’t even pay off my mortgage.

So I refused the license, moved the bulk of my money to another bank, and switched back to writing checks. The idea being that if the account I’m writing checks from is compromised, I lose a little cash, but not everything, and I can be up and running with a new bank overnight. Hopefully…

Scary times!

Steve November 30, 2020 6:48 PM

It should be noted that the item linked is an opinion piece, not a news piece, and may not be subject to the same level of fact checking to which actual reportage may be.

With respect to ballots, the biggest danger I see in going to universal mail ballots is not fraud but coercion.

Consider this: an employer with a particular axe to grind demands that all employees bring in their ballots to work on pain of being fired and forces the employees to vote in a particular way while the boss watches.

While this is unlikely to sway, say, a presidential or statewide election, it might be enough to swing a local election for mayor or for a local ballot measure one way or another.

aserraric December 1, 2020 1:23 AM

I find the contrast between Europe and the US interesting.

In Europe, we haven’t been using checks (at any significant scale, at least) for more than a decade, closer to two. At the same time, credit cards didn’t really take off until online shopping went big. Debit cards came sooner for in-store payments, but were not nearly as universally accepted as they are now (especially in smaller stores).

In the US, you can pay by credit card pretty much everywhere, and have been able to do so for a long time. Andy yet, Americans still write checks, and a good number still receives literal pay checks.

recherche December 1, 2020 1:58 AM

Having mail stolen from your letterbox is easily solved: Invest
in a post-office box. Cuts down the opportunities for
casual thieves, although (obviously) insiders at the Post Office
may still have a go (and may be able to spot patterns when
Large Agencies batch-issue cheques).

I love having a hard paper trail, such that the cheque is
stored by the bank, and the writing/signature/amount/date etc
can be independently audited.

On the flip side, my Post Office also lets me pay my bills —
so I can write a cheque, present it (with the bill) over the
counter, and get a printed receipt with date/time/receipt-number
(etc.) that I can file — and later on, reconcile with when the
cheque appears on a statement.

If you’re polling your Post Box regularly, batching up a few
payments to do over-the-counter at the one time is very

Otherwise, there’s malware, e.g. keystroke loggers, that can
observe your electronic activity, and then the vast reach of
the Internet, and difficulty once fraud crosses borders (e.g.
a recent email-change-BSB-Account article noted that the
perptrator may have been in South Africa, and that Interpol
was not interested in investigating any fraud under the
$1 million mark.

Cheques handled locally simply does not have that issue with
scale that the Internet makes trivial.

— recherche

SpaceLifeForm December 1, 2020 2:00 AM

@ WmG

Propaganda can be cheap if you can get dummies on [redacted] to amplify it.

This is why the attacks on Section 230 are happening.

That said, Propaganda can be tricky.

Here, one of the top experts explains.


“I’m not told what to say”

“I don’t vet the information on this program that I give out”

mike acker December 1, 2020 5:45 AM

we might be interested in “paperless” if we had secure electronics. As it stands, from BEC to Election — we have a mess on our hands.

llamas December 1, 2020 7:56 AM

30 years designing check-processing machinery for Burroughs/Unisys/Burroughs. Everything old is new again.

Classic ‘check-washing’ is actually pretty-rare these days, which is why it makes the news. Most bank-supplied checks come from reputable suppliers who long-ago built preventive measures into their product that make whole-check washing very difficult.

The key word in the linked article is ‘altered’ – I suspect what we’re actually discussing is simple alterations of the as-written checks. As most customer-facing banking employees now are essentially unskilled data-entry personnel, it’s easy to get even the crudest alterations past them. The old-time experienced teller is no more.

But anyway, there’s no need to do old-school check-washing anymore, because there’s at least 2x easier ways to create a fake check that will pass good, once you have an example of a ‘good’ check to work from. You can have it professionally-made for you for $9.95 for 100 using one of the blow-in inserts in the Sunday paper (be sure and pay by check, and get the ones with cuddly kittens on them) or you can print your own, using the self-publishing tools that are now ubiquitous. Either way will make a check that will pass into the check-clearing system with no red flags at all.

Someone mentioned Frank Abagnale, who used to call me by my first name when I still worked in that area. He used to do a thing at his seminars where he would collect business cards from attendees at the beginning, and at the conclusion of the seminar, present each person with a forged check on their company, created by his staff using public resources while the seminar was going on. These were awesome fakes, that would have passed as good anywhere. This is easy to do.

Regarding signature verification, read your deposit agreement – it’s likely not happening for checks below a certain, significant value. And likely your DA will allow the bank to accept ‘facsimile’ (not autograph) signatures. All-in-all, the signature is about the least-secure element on a check.

Suggesting that the cure for this is to stop using checks is just asinine – it’s like suggesting that you cure a headache by shooting yourself in the head. There’s 100 easier ways to effectively eliminate this kind of fraud, both for private citizens and (especially) for businesses. Get your checks from Harland or Deluxe, and pay the trivial fees for enhanced security features if you’re worried about it. Microprint, a decent void pantograph and a thermo or optical response measure will stop 99.99% of fraud attempts. Keep them locked up like cash. Fill them out properly and completely, both legal and courtesy amounts, and fill blank spaces. Reconcile your statement every 30 days or better. Mail your checks only at a USPS box or facility. Businesses, sign up for PP or RPP, there’s software now that will do it entirely-automatically. Print your check amounts using a non-alterable font, there’s 100 available for cheap.

To be sure, paper checks are an old-school technology, and it’s easy to be seduced by the apparent ease and convenience of electronic payment systems. But paper checks (with proper security means) still offer valuable benefits and effective limits on liability and potential losses. If many people actually read the fine print on debit-card, credit-card and electronic-payment agreements, they might think twice about using them.



Nick Alcock December 1, 2020 8:18 AM

@ Kai: you should have told Stripe about your current account. That’s what they were really asking for: they just didn’t know that checking accounts aren’t called that in the EU (because cheques are so obsolete that most current accounts don’t even offer you chequebooks unless you ask for them). You likely have one of those.

wumpus December 1, 2020 12:16 PM

@kiwano “I wonder if a UK publication is spelling cheque as “check” because they’re describing an American problem…”

I suspect that this is more an excuse to bash Americans for still using checks. The “check washing” threat is obsolete.

That said: a stolen check will contain the bank (and routing number, but you can look up one from the other) and the bank account number. Between the two, you can either forge an entirely new check (you can buy check stock at Staples*) or electronically transfer arbitrary amounts of money. “Washing” the check is just silly (presumably you want the water mark of a specific company’s payroll and assume they would actually check that. As covered above, just deposit in an ATM).

  • I wasn’t sure I would have checks for my new checking account right around when taxes were due in 2020. A little googling later and I learned that Staples (and similar) sold check stock, and that would work where regular paper wouldn’t.

toby December 1, 2020 12:43 PM

Those most likely to still use checks may also be some of the more vulnerable. For example, elders might prefer paper checks or find it difficult to navigate online banking – AND they are also more likely to experience fraud or other financial crimes. I don’t think we can just dismiss those who aren’t comfortable with online banking and their concerns.

E.M.H. December 1, 2020 12:43 PM

I think we’re all shocked that check-washing is still a thing. Primarily because it’s so spectacularly unscalable. The linked story talks about a “very sophisticated syndicate”, and they were still caught with less than 100 checks.

Contrast that to the figures from well known credit card breaches.

Yes, I agree with the thrust of that article: Go online. There’s just so little reason not to anymore.

John Levine December 1, 2020 2:45 PM

The US has thousands of banks, most of which are small and technically unsophisticated, which makes it hard to implement any system that they all have to use. ACH transfers have existed for decades, and bank bill pay increasingly either lets you explicitly enter the payee’s bank details for ACH payments, or implicitly recognize payees and turn those into ACH payments. (My small business has its details registered with the largest bill pay providers.) Like other people here I write hardly any checks other than for local taxes.

The Federal Reserve is building a system called FedNow which will handle instant payments from anyone to anyone starting in 2023 or 2024. It’s long overdue. See

Steve December 1, 2020 3:28 PM


Coercion is a problem regardless of mail-in or in-person.

I’d say it was less of a problem in-person, as long as no one except the individual voter is allowed in the booth at a time.

Once you’re in the booth, you’re pretty much a free agent as far as voting is concerned.

That’s the whole point of having a secret ballot, isn’t it?

Not that there aren’t pressures that can be applied — the boss could say “if measure 42 doesn’t pass, you’re all out of jobs,” of course (think Uber and Lyft in California this last election) but unless they employ a working majority of the local population, that’s sort of difficult to pull off.

Better to just buy a lot of adverts.

any moose December 3, 2020 7:16 PM

Every dentist I’ve ever used (in the USA) offers a discount (the same percentage charged by credit card banks) for paying cash, which translates to checks. Since no one mentioned this, I will assume that many of you either have money to burn or never visit a dentist.

JonKnowsNothing December 3, 2020 8:44 PM

@any moose

re: Every dentist I’ve ever used (in the USA) offers a discount (the same percentage charged by credit card banks) for paying cash, which translates to checks.

There are some workarounds and some legal aspects but often small businesses will offer a discount for non-credit or debit card payment as you indicated, to offset the high cost of processing items through whatever bank provides the business service.

Some businesses will have “minimum purchase” to use a credit/debit card, again to offset the cost of processing fees.

There are some businesses were costs can be negotiated even if there is a standard tier of pricing for cash, debit or credit because that hits the books same day. The person with the credit card pays a long time for that (6 root canals USA and counting).

Then there is Real Cash aka Greenbacks aka Ben Franks and that cash discount is much better than a check. Such negotiated pricing can be done in most any country (pre-COVID). The value of this portion of the global economy is hard to estimate but many governments are planning on tapping it to pay for COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

We know a good portion of what’s available from Jeff Bezos, Google, Apple and other off-shoring corporations. The global governments have not always been in sync about stopping off-shoring but with all of them facing enormous problems in recovery and sustaining their economic models, there will be pressure to tap into that publicly known source (discretely).

The deeper cash economy remains pretty much beyond government access.

A good number of governments, often in neoliberal economies that see fraud-waste-malingering everywhere, have moved their social support systems to All Plastic. Of course this is a colossal failure with staggering amounts of human suffering as a result.

Banks continue to do quite well with processing fees, terminal rentals, connection fees and a load of other “value added banking services”. It’s far more profitable to them to move electronic 111000 from one account to another, rather than physical checks.

In old times, banks returned the actual physical checks as part of your monthly statement.

ht tps://
ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

JonKnowsNothing December 3, 2020 9:00 PM


re: practice where thieves break into mailboxes

In urban California, thieves map the recycling pickup routes and pirate the items before the truck arrives.

The value of some recycle material makes collecting pickup loads well worth while.

Legally in California, once you set it out on the street for pick up, the items become the property of the City. So the theft is from the City-Recycling Agreement where cities get a cut/kickback from the sale of the “good stuff”.

It’s also handy for LEAs because once you dump your mail in the trash and move the bin to the street, they can get the city to hand it over without telling you about it.

TRX December 6, 2020 10:29 PM

I can’t believe that checks are still such a big thing in the USA.

A check is a legal document, admissible evidence in court.

We don’t get our paper checks back any more, but banks scan them during processing, and those scans are admissible.

EvilKiru December 7, 2020 9:32 PM

There’s still something similar to check writing in Europe: GIRO. The US has nothing even remotely similar to GIRO, which is why check writing still exists over here and is somewhat safer than using a credit card (and much safer than writing your credit card number down when mailing a payment, which is still how the vast majority of utility bills are paid over here).

anonymous December 15, 2020 1:30 PM

“The article suggests a solution: stop using paper checks.”

One of the reasons that I still use paper checks is because it’s often the only form of payment that doesn’t demand that you “agree” to some lengthy and unconscionable one-sided contract of adhesion.

Take charitable donations for example. If you visit the donate page on a charity, it will often present two ways to donate.

One is through some payment processor, and once you’re redirected to their website they require you to check some box or whatever stating that you “agree” to some document that might be 50 or 100 pages long, and if you do bother to read it is full of unbelievably unreasonable provisions including the galling “we may change this to say whatever we want and you automatically agree to any change we decide to make” style provision.

The other way: make check payable to [organization name] and mail to [address]. When faced with this choice, naturally I go with the latter option.

People think of, and treat, digital alternatives to older systems as drop in replacements that are simply more modern. But often the companies that run these systems don’t see themselves as the kind of neutral infrastructure they’re trying to replace.

You don’t need to “agree” to some 100 page contract to write a check, and until there’s a digital replacement that’s similarly neutral, some people will always prefer to use paper checks.

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.