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Student uncovers US military secrets

An Irish graduate student has uncovered words blacked-out of declassified US military documents using nothing more than a dictionary and text analysis software. Claire Whelan, a computer science student at Dublin City University was given the problems by her PhD supervisor as a diversion. David Naccache, a cryptographer with Gemplus, challenged her to discover the words missing from two documents: one was a memo to George Bush, and another concerned military modifications to civilian helicopters. The process is quite straightforward, and according to Naccache, Whelan’s success proves that merely blotting words out of declassified documents will not keep the contents secret. The first task is to identify the font, and font size the missing word was written in. Once that is done, the dictionary search begins for words that fit the space, plus or minus three pixels, Naccache explained. Full Story

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