Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Uh-oh! Here come the spammers again . . .

I'm not very happy to learn that the so-called 'Captcha' authentification system has been cracked - or, at least, its audio challenge element. The Daily Mail reports:

Researchers have sparked fresh concerns about Internet security after cracking Captcha, the word test used to check if website users are human.

In tests IT experts said they have developed software that beats audio Captchas up to 89 per cent of the time.

They warned that cyber criminals could use such a programme to get past security measures introduced by websites like Yahoo and eBay and scam the public.

The programme, called Decaptcha, beat Captcha on eBay 82 per cent of the time, Microsoft 48.9 per cent of the time, Yahoo 45.5 per cent of the time and 42 per cent of the time on Digg.

It could also cause problems for websites like Ticketmaster as touts could use automated programmes to pose as real users and get the best seats - only to sell them on at vastly inflated prices.

The researchers warned that websites using Captcha had to upgrade their security or face becoming a victim of cyber crime.

There's more at the link.

I don't suppose I'll be worried overmuch by spam comments on Blogger, which uses Captcha - but I'm going to be watching very carefully to see if bigger commercial sites start getting overwhelmed by this.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that what one man invents, another man can circumvent. I just wish there were some way to install a program that infallibly identifies hackers, spammers and computer ne'er-do-wells, and - when it finds one - automatically eviscerates them by ejecting a shower of blunt scalpel blades through their computer's USB ports!

Spammers! Grrr!



Mark said...

As a USAF aviator this post reminds me of the old "counter-counter measure" routine. Everyone keeps improving SAMs, and we keep improving counter-measures. I'm curious to see what the next step will be in captcha technology.

Dad29 said...

Think of it this way: spammers are a compliment to you.

If your blog was boring, or useless, NOBODY would show up.

trailbee said...

Like mine. Very boring, not politically active, just for my grand-kids and a place to put my thoughts. However, even though I don't do much blog hunting, I do appreciate certain ones, like this one, Two Minute Conservative, and a couple of others. Gives me a chance to sharpen the grey matter, and to feel part of the political scene. Sorry this had to happen, but it was just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...


The man who invented Captcha is a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon I believe. You can view many of his lectures on youtube...I stumbled on one recently where he talked about how captcha is now being used to aid in converting words in pdf's into ebooks for google. Something like that anyway.