Open Source Tool Unredacter restores text that has been pixelated


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Apr 24, 2016
Unredacter is an open source tool that is designed to restore text that has been pixelated. Sharing screenshots and other images is done with the press of a button on today's devices. Users who want to protect information on these images may use various techniques to do so. One common option when it comes to textual information is to use an image editor to pixelate the data.

The effectiveness of the manipulation of the image depends entirely on the selected algorithm. Tools to unpixel pixelated content in images have been around for some time, and security researchers have pointed out that pixelation is particularly weak when it comes to that.

Unredacter was created by security researcher Dan Petro as a response to a challenge to reveal pixelated text published on the Jumpsec blog. The researcher's tool was successful in de-obfuscating the posted pixelated text.

The open source tool has been published on GitHub. It is not an executable file and requires some manual adjustments for each image with pixelated information to work properly.
For users, it is essential that pixelation is not used anymore when it comes to obfuscating parts of text. Common options include deleting the information entirely or painting over the part using a solid color.