Captcha Is Dead

Captcha is DeadFor quite some time the Internet has been buzzing about the death of capture.

Sure enough, it is dead.  Captcha has been broken by some wiley individuals.

I spotted an excellent post on Slashdot about captcha which also contained links to several other sites.  Here is the URL to the Slashdot article – http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/15/2025220&from=rss.

Now that the Yahoo Captcha has been cracked (see http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/30/0037254&tid=172 and http://internetcommunications.tmcnet.com/topics/broadband-mobile/articles/18772-yahoos-captcha-brokenis-spam-tsunami-the-offing.htm), as well as Gmail (see http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/27/0045242&tid=172 and http://www.websense.com/securitylabs/blog/blog.php?BlogID=174) and Hotmail (see http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/15/1941236&tid=172 and http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Blogs/2907.aspx and http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Blogs/3063.aspx) – what comes next?

Will we see an unbreakable Captcha?  Not likely. 

Forget the fact that it can now be automated – if (for example) I were determined to resort to black-hat methods of driving traffic I could certainly hire dozens of individuals to sit at Blogger, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google (or any other free e-mail service or blogging service etc.,) and have them create accounts all day.  I could then feed those same individuals specific instructions on what to do and how to do it.  Sure it might cost me a few dollars per day – but consider if I’m running something like AdSense or any other type of monitization method that earns me money based on clicks – $5 or $10 per day would be nothing compared to the potential of earning thousands of dollars per day.

So while everyone is fretting about Captcha being broken, there have always been ways around Captcha.  More spam will only be more of an annoyance and what will truly help reduce spam are the big cases that have been successfully won against some of the bigger spammers out there.  This will (hopefully) deter the smaller guys that think sending me a gazillion viagra offers will somehow induce me to click on their ads.

Image source: http://www.virtualblight.com/articles/?p=20

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About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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