Invasion of the Bots: this sounds like a cheesy science fiction movie, but there has already been an invasion of the robotic kind. Anyone who has ever been assailed by email spam is already a victim of this invasion, which CAPTCHA was invented to prevent. Software designed to implement CAPTCHA makes computers safer for general users and children.
What is Captcha?
This isn’t a word but an abbreviation which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. When you fill out an entry form or online request for information with an internet organization, there is often a little quiz at the bottom. All you have to do is read the letters and/or numbers shown in a box and retype them below. These symbols are distorted and don’t usually spell anything. They are created at random by software. Consumers might have to squint a little bit but are usually able to decipher these distorted sets of symbols.
Most robots scanning the internet cannot recognize their blurred form so when you successfully type the answer into a box the computer knows you are not a robot: you are a real person asking for information, making a purchase, registering a vote, or participating in a contest. Not all websites use Captcha code and some free or old programs are being unraveled by sophisticated web bots that roam the internet, so it is up to consumers to know the risks of sharing any information online.
Common Spam Consequences
When you type your email address into an online form and the form is not protected by CAPTCHA, these bots can potentially find your information and send you automated email; junk mail otherwise known as spam. This is how fraudulent emails asking for money to help a woman in a foreign country feed her children are disseminated quickly and anonymously.
Pornography pops up on computer screens when teenagers believe they are simply researching information for a school project. Worms spread viruses. Polls and surveys can be rigged as a robotic software program enters information over and over with new, random, and false information.
When a web worm gets into a person’s computer it can also obtain personal information like your email address, credit card number, and passwords. That is why a worm is considered “malicious”: its intent is to cause harm, not merely mischief.
Changes to Captcha
It is becoming harder to protect websites and consumers now that bots are programmed to be more clever and overcome hurdles such as image blurring, but CAPTCHA creation is evolving to keep up with CAPTCHA solving by automated (robotic) software. Some programs make symbols increasingly blurry so they are even difficult for human eyes to decipher. Therein rests a big problem: ensuring readers and web users can interact with sites. If a CAPTCHA code is too distorted to read, real people with no harm in mind are unable to register a complaint, ask for information, or make a legitimate purchase.
Therefore, the problem with intelligent machines has to be dealt with differently. One idea is to ask the reader a question. He might have to perform shape recognition, for instance. IT experts are working on other intelligent solutions all the time.
Free and Paid-for Software
Free software is available and extremely effective in most cases to create CAPTCHA code. Paid-for software is also on the market and could offer more complex solutions to the problem of internet worms, spam, and fraud. CAPTCHA might be your one safety installation or used in partnership with other security methods. The more security you provide onsite the better, especially when you are running an eCommerce page and hoping to gain the trust of customers.