While CAPTCHA’s are supposed to keep the evil spammers of the world at bay there is no doubt that they are an annoyance to the end user. Most involve deciphering a string of mangled characters in an image which you must get right before you can complete a transaction of some sort (e.g. for signing up to an email service or posting on a forum).
Theoretically only humans can correctly identify the characters and hence proceed but in recent years many variations have been allegedly defeated by advanced optical character recognition software (check out this Chinese website which tells you how difficult each type is to crack and how much it costs to do so). It seems to have turned into a game of cat an mouse between the hackers and those trying to stop them with ever more elaborate variations. A friend of mine discovered this one today when trying to download something from RapidShare –
What on earth is “only enter symbols attached to a cat” supposed to mean??!! Am I lacking optical cat recognition abilities? For the life of me I can’t see any cats in there (let alone attached ones)! After multiple failed attempts it turned out that the answer to this one was DTEC. It seems we have a problem.
As it turns out, this isn’t the only crazy CAPTCHA out there and whilst captcha is a “good enough” solution in most cases there has to be a better solution to this madness, even if it’s just to improve the usability of the current system. Any takers?