How Captcha Uses Video To Stay Ahead Of The Spammers

If you have used the Internet for any small amount of time, you have seen this feature used.

A small box that has all types of crazy letters that you must type.

If you get it wrong, the program will stop you from completing the action that you were trying to get done.

This is called captcha and it’s main purpose is to stop spammers from automated sign ups (typically used for spamming) on a web site.

The lettering is hard to read on purpose.

The harder it is for the human eye to decipher, the harder it is for a computer to be able to read the information as well.


Over time, programmers have found a way to defeat captchas automatically.

Several years ago, a hacker would defeat captchas in one of two ways.

Either they would hire cheap overseas labor to create the accounts that they needed, manually filling in the captcha forms or they would go another route.

That was to create a fake site, most of the time an adult site, and have a captcha form that needed to be filled out.

Once the form was filled, then that person could see the video.

This captcha was for another site and had nothing to do with the video itself.

Now these techniques are no longer needed as much since hackers have figured out a way to defeat captchas.

the use of flash video with captchas

Defeating CAPTCHA

There was a paper published last month that discussed a number of different programs that could be used to defeat captcha.

Not, one hundred percent of the time but enough to make the program worth it.

This new discovery have put the people who run captcha software companies on their heels again.

Now that they are able to be defeated with any kind of consistency, it makes their product obsolete.

So they got to work and tried to figure out a way to stop this from happening.

What they came up with was the use of video as a deliverer of the captcha letters.

The software creates a 3D image or a small video and the person has to type in what they see.

A video image is a lot harder to decode than a picture with a squiggly line so this might work in the short term.

Also the use of Flash video content makes the video easy to deliver in high amounts.

Flash has figured out how to compress video and still display it on the Internet.

Will this technique work in stopping spammers from signing up to networks with a large amount of accounts?

In the short term, yes it will.

But just like it was hard to defeat the captcha image but eventually they did, hackers will take on this challenge as well.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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