Swimming the Matrix


Why Are We Still Using CAPTCHA?

I’m still amazed that everyone still relies on CAPTCHA to prevent automatic use of their site. CAPTCHA, for those who don’t know, are those pictures with letters and numbers you see when you register with a site or after failing to login to a site a few times.

The problem is that the algorithms to solve those and find the letters and numbers in the pictures is better at it than we are! I don’t know how many times I’ve had to re-try after failing one of those tests because the zeroes and O’s look the same! And the spambots and all that still get through despite my inconvenience!

You know what’s better at fooling automation than a picture? A question! If the recent Watson vs. Jeopardy games taught us anything, it’s that computers still have a very difficult time understanding human speech. Even as text it’s typically garbage to them unless you have a supercomputer to throw at trying to figure out what it’s trying to say.

And I’m not talking about needing complicated “A train leaves the station traveling X MPH…” or anything like that. Something as simple as “What color is the sky?(or space or anything else someone with a brain would know the answer to)”. You could easily come up with a database of hundreds of questions, then just match the answer they give with the one on file. It’s a lot faster and easier to answer “apple” than to figure out that it’s trying to get you to enter Fr42Gh. And don’t even get me started on the new ones I’ve seen that make you solve a puzzle. So slow!

Questions are quick, easy to get the answer to, and only add a fraction of time on to the authentication process. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Published by meatshield, on May 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 pm. Filled under: UncategorizedNo Comments

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