Thought to be redacted, classified military info exposed by cut n' paste

Summary:Through German systems architect Volker Weber comes a blog about how the massive number of redactions in a PDF-version of a report that was issued by the Pentagon (the one that cleared the US military of any wrongdoing in the death of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari) could be "un-redacted" using nothing more than CTRL-C, CTRL-V (cut n' paste).

Through German systems architect Volker Weber comes a blog about how the massive number of redactions in a PDF-version of a report that was issued by the Pentagon (the one that cleared the US military of any wrongdoing in the death of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari) could be "un-redacted" using nothing more than CTRL-C, CTRL-V (cut n' paste).  I tried to copy and paste a few pages from Acrobat into Windows Notepad and sure enough, everything that was blacked out in the PDF version of the document was clearly visible. There have been many reports in the press of how people have published Microsoft Word documents with their history easily revealed through Word's track changes feature.  But you rarely hear about problems like this when it comes to PDF files. It will be interesting to see how this security debacle unfolds, where the finger gets pointed, and how it changes the way PDF files get handled in the future (by organizations of all types).

Topics: Tech Industry

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David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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