227 votes
Accepted

How secure is 'blacking out' sensitive information using MS Paint?

As mentioned in the answers to a very similar question, scribbling over part of an image will destroy the original pixels, assuming that your editor doesn't store any layers or undo history in the ...
Ben N's user avatar
  • 2,501
192 votes
Accepted

Secure way of masking out sensitive information in screenshots?

Yes, it can be recovered. As long as shutter does not use layer (it almost certainly does not) and as long as the black is really all black (it must not be transparent), it is enough. The picture ...
Peter Harmann's user avatar
159 votes

Are the sticks of RAM in my desktop computer volatile? Is it safe to sell them?

Yes, they're safe. Consumer memory DIMMs use volatile SDRAM memory. Volatile means that it does not hold its state after you turn it off. SDRAM memory chips are constructed from an array of memory ...
Polynomial's user avatar
  • 135k
154 votes

Why is this 435 × 652 pixel JPEG over 6 MB?

Short answer: It's an artifact of Nikon Picture Project I had difficulty finding "Nikon Picture Project" but finally found a 1.5 version to try. The last version produced was 1.7.6 . It turns out ...
user10216038's user avatar
  • 8,113
80 votes

Secure way of masking out sensitive information in screenshots?

You don't even need to use an image editor in this case to recover the "redacted" text. Simply zooming in on the image is enough to read it. So I would say that yes, it most certainly is possible to ...
ke4ukz's user avatar
  • 757
71 votes

Secure way of masking out sensitive information in screenshots?

In this case the image can be recovered very well As others already pointed out the dark patch is not completely black. It has a transparent effect and only darkens the original image. The original ...
pabouk - Ukraine stay strong's user avatar
70 votes

Are the sticks of RAM in my desktop computer volatile? Is it safe to sell them?

Yes, they’re safe to sell. No consumer PCs use non-volatile RAM for their main memory.
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 10.3k
64 votes

How secure is 'blacking out' sensitive information using MS Paint?

Ditto Ben N, but let me add a couple of points that are too long to fit as comments. I'd emphasize the distinction between layered and un-layered data formats. Drawing a black box over a section of a ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 859
62 votes
Accepted

Is a password-protected stolen laptop safe?

Is a password-protected stolen laptop safe? No. The immutable laws of security say: Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it's not your computer anymore. It doesn'...
anion's user avatar
  • 1,045
45 votes

Why is this 435 × 652 pixel JPEG over 6 MB?

This was less interesting than it seemed at first. The user might just have a broken camera, broken memory card, or malfunctioning photo editing software that fails to save the full resolution image, ...
Esa Jokinen's user avatar
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44 votes
Accepted

Is NTFS encrypted by default?

No, NTFS is not encrypted by default. can data be read straight from the sectors in clear text? Yes, by default NTFS files are unencrypted. Since NTFS 3.0, EFS (Encrypting File System) is a ...
gowenfawr's user avatar
  • 72.9k
40 votes

At what point is deleted data irrecoverable?

This depends a lot on what medium is used to store the data and what you consider "irrecoverable". "Deleting" data mostly does not what most people think it does. Simply put, after a standard ...
dmuensterer's user avatar
  • 1,174
29 votes

Secure way of masking out sensitive information in screenshots?

Yes, the text can be unmasked, either by simply zooming in or using any of the techniques - but not restricted to - pointed by pabouk and Peter answers. I have clearly asked for the correct/most ...
Pedro Lobito's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Why is this 435 × 652 pixel JPEG over 6 MB?

As other commenters have mentioned, the file contains data from Nikon Picture Project. What if you couldn't run that software, but you still wanted to know what was hidden inside? Nikon's Picture ...
nneonneo's user avatar
  • 505
22 votes

How secure is 'blacking out' sensitive information using MS Paint?

When blacking out sensitive information in Paint the original pixels are destroyed. But using Inkscape to black out part of a vector image does not destroy the pixels, but instead covers them. If ...
Suici Doga's user avatar
21 votes

Is a password-protected stolen laptop safe?

Just to add a very simple answer here, I regularly boot a linux live cd/usb on friends' computers who have done something weird and need to recover files, and simply copy them over to an external ...
Tasos Papastylianou's user avatar
17 votes

How secure is 'blacking out' sensitive information using MS Paint?

As a raster image program that does not use layers nor contain an undo history after saving, overwriting sensitive pixels in Paint irrevocably changes them in the saved image. More reasoning: ...
geoO's user avatar
  • 320
17 votes

Why is this 435 × 652 pixel JPEG over 6 MB?

It's not corrupt, it's just filled with APP10 segments, containing some sort of application specific data. Nikon-specific probably, because there are Nikon-references in the APP1/EXIF segment at the ...
Gerben's user avatar
  • 171
13 votes

How secure is 'blacking out' sensitive information using MS Paint?

Already a few good answers here, saying Paint is safe. (I have no reason to believe otherwise.) Just want to add that while blacking out a rectangle that fully covers the area and any surrounding ...
Erik I's user avatar
  • 231
13 votes

How can you detect kernel exploits?

No, there is nothing all kernel exploits have in common. Or at least, there is nothing unique to them and not present in standard, legal interaction with the kernel (such as using syscalls or ...
forest's user avatar
  • 66.6k
13 votes

Is NTFS encrypted by default?

It actually doesn't need any forensics effort and is routinely done by Windows sysadmins. Change the password of the Windows admin by booting a toolset of choice or simply attach the disk to a ...
fraxinus's user avatar
  • 3,558
12 votes

Is a password-protected stolen laptop safe?

As anion's answer points out, the data on your hard disk is generally not safe under the system you described. However, Windows does offer several encryption methods beyond just BitLocker, and they ...
CBHacking's user avatar
  • 47.6k
11 votes

Secure way of masking out sensitive information in screenshots?

Examples As shown above, your example was breakable,the blacks of the redaction had variation showing the text. Real life example New York Times Suffers Redaction Failure, Exposes Name Of NSA Agent ...
jrtapsell's user avatar
  • 3,207
11 votes

At what point is deleted data irrecoverable?

While the current leading answer dives into the technical details of data recovery, I will (try to) take the broader approach. How do we define "irrecoverable"? Depending on the circle you may ...
dark_st3alth's user avatar
  • 3,032
10 votes

Do XSS attempts leave any trace on the server?

What can the website owner see? Basically everything. If the XSS vector (<script>alert(1)</script> in your case) is part of: - HTTP headers (including cookies) - URL (path, query string)...
Benoit Esnard's user avatar
10 votes

How can police get someone's search history?

What are the possible ways they can do that? The main ways police can obtain search records are by: Looking at local browser history on the suspect's computer (as you mentioned). Demanding ...
forest's user avatar
  • 66.6k
9 votes

How to determine if JPG EXIF data has been changed by "OEM" software (without third party tools)?

This could be due to many reasons. I'll share the most likely: The user has an app to randomize/change EXIF data/file property data. There's an app for that. Such a program is usually used by those ...
Mark Buffalo's user avatar
  • 22.6k
9 votes

What is the file signature for a .json file?

JSON (nominally) doesn't have a file signature. File signatures (usually "magic" byte sequences with given offsets) exist in binary file formats; this includes executables, images, video, music, ...
Jules's user avatar
  • 1,250
8 votes
Accepted

Magnet to wipe HDD

Short answer: That won't work. You'll need to degauss it, which will render the drive unusable. Long answer: Sure. Get a powerful magnet, put it next to the hard drive, with N facing the drive. ...
forest's user avatar
  • 66.6k
8 votes
Accepted

How can a user defeat anti-live forensics software?

There are many ways to compromise a running computer if you have physical access. How likely it is that you will be able to obtain the level of access you need depends on several factors, including ...
forest's user avatar
  • 66.6k

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