How To Uncover Blacked Out Text?

3.3K    Asked by AmitSinha in Cyber Security , Asked on Nov 17, 2022

 I sent some pictures to a journalist to report something I thought was noteworthy. However, one of the images contained my date of birth and other personal information so I blacked it out using markup tools in the Photos app of my iPhone 6 (running iOS 10.3.2). Then, I took a screenshot, then sent the screenshot from my phone to my email account, then downloaded the image to my laptop. Then, I sent that image from my desktop to the journalist.


So, let's say this was the edited original picture (it's in JPEG format because when I sent it from my iPhone via iCloud mail to my other email address then downloaded it on to my laptop from that other email address, it downloaded in JPEG, but the screenshot downloaded as a PNG):


This is the screenshot (PNG format): Using whatever technique you want, is there any way possible to see what is under the blacked out parts in the screenshot, because that was what I actually then sent to the journalist. Thank you for your help! PS - The images above are examples and not the actual thing I sent! It just says "LALALALALA BATMAN!"

Answered by Amit Sinha

The answer to your question - how to see blacked out text is - It is nearly impossible to remove the used solid marker or layers from a blacked-out image, but it is easy to read or see the hidden information from the images. Here are some tips, by which you can read the hidden texts from a screen with a few sliding motions of your finger;

1. Removing Highlighter Obfuscation from Image Texts As said before, you can read or see the hidden texts from a blacked-out image by a few sliding motions. You need to follow these below-described steps to see through the highlighter obfuscation;

Step-1 Open an image or photo that has blacked-out texts and open it with the Photos app of your smartphone. Afterward, click on Edit. Also, you can use third-party photo editing tools that are able to increase or decrease brilliance, shadows, brightness, exposure, highlights, and contrast.

Step-2 From the editor, increase the brilliance, shadows, and brightness of the image or photo to 100 percent. It will make visible the hidden texts of the image. If you are still not able to read or see the hidden contents, you need to increase the exposure, and highlights of the image to 100 percent and decrease the contrast to 100 percent. Zoom in on the highlighted area to see through the obfuscation more clearly.

Some other variables can be responsible for making the process much easier or difficult for you. When the black highlighter of the image is not very thick, it is possible to remove the highlighter with two or different adjustment tools. The color and the background could make the removal process difficult (Especially when the light color is used as an obfuscation background). The light colors (e.g., yellow, sky blue, violet) could lead you to difficulty reading the hidden contents.

2. Different Colors in Background and Highlighter To see or read through the different colors (except dark or black), you need to increase or decrease the same photo tools while editing the image or photo. For example, you have to increase the brightness or highlights to 100 percent on a red highlighter obfuscation. If you are still having trouble seeing through the obfuscation, try out other adjustment tools. In an obfuscation with a white highlighter, you have to increase the sharpness and brilliance to 100 percent, and decrease brightness and contrast to 100 percent.



Your Answer

Interviews

Parent Categories