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New Open Source Tool Might Let People Read Redacted Documents

A really common way for someone or the other to keep things private when posting a picture online is to pixelate text in that picture. This text might contain anything from bank account details, credit card numbers, home addresses, personal phone numbers or anything else that you might not want all that many people knowing about. It is essential to redact such information because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up protecting you from things like identity theft and the like.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that there is a new open source tool called Unredacter that has just been released which might make pixelating for redaction a lot less effective. This tool allows you to uncover pixelated text, which means that if you have redacted something of a sensitive nature with pixilation you might not be able to rely on this in the future to any extent at all.

The creators of this tool, a security firm known as Bishop Fox, did so in order to highlight how ineffective this method truly is if you want to redact something with all things having been considered and taken into account. There are already quite a few tools out there that can do so, but this is the first ever open source tool and they created it to raise awareness about the fact that proper redacting of sensitive information is something that requires a lot more than just covering it up with an image editing effect of blurring it out.

According to Dan Petro, a high ranking researcher at this firm, the best way to redact a document is to turn it into an image and to cover up the text with solid black bars. After you save this image there will be no way to uncover the text underneath the black bars due to the reason that this text just wouldn’t exist anymore. It’s important to learn about how you can protect your privacy, and sometimes apparently effective techniques can end up being nothing of the sort.


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