The day the Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US memo was launched, I looked at the redacted original and wondered how good the redaction really was. You can see the size and even the shape of some of the words.
Well, someone figured it out: the missing word above is "Egyptian". John Markoff has the story. David Naccache and Claire Whelan did some basic image analysis to figure out what font the document was in and exactly how wide the missing word was. Then they did a search over all possible words that would fit and narrowed the list down from 1530 words to 7 based on context. Simple, and according to the report almost entirely automated.

The demonstration was at Eurocrypt. Le Monde seems to have the first news report (translation). More: Nicolas, Kos, Slashdot, an earlier deredacting attempt.

  2004-05-10 15:10 Z