There are just some things in this world that get on a lot of peoples nerves. Even though they might see the need for this item or action, it is still an irritant and they wish that someone can figure out a better way to do things. For example, if you live in America and you travel by airplane a lot then a service that might get on your nerves is the TSA. While you might see the need for them when it comes to the security of you, the airport and the plane itself, it still seems like a system that could be done better.
When you are talking about the online world then there is one service that everyone agrees with that can be done better. And that service is called Captchas. While there are a great deal of people who are reading this article right now that have no idea what I am talking about, for the ones that do you can see where the comparison to the TSA comes in. You know why the action is annoying and you know somehow deep in your heart that it can be done better. While you may not have an idea of how to do it better, somebody does and hopefully it will show up soon.
So what is a Captcha?
As I said earlier, a lot of people who are reading this article are web savvy and so they know what the word Captcha means. But for those people who do not know what it means I am are going to go over it for you and as soon as you get a few words into the explanation you will recognize it right away and exclaim how much you hate it as well!
So when we are talking about Captchas, we are talking about the portion of the internet that blocks you from completing a form until you fill out a certain box. Sometimes the box will be audio but most of the time it is text and it is filled with squiggly letters that are hard to read. The reason why the letters are this way is because they want it hard for a normal computer to be able to analyze them. While the letters used to be easy to read but just in a picture format, they found that the black hat hackers could set up computers that would easily analyze them. So instead they made the text harder to read and stopped most of the automation process.
You might be thinking to yourself why is it so important to stop hackers from breaking this captcha process? That is because if the captcha process was not there then you would see a lot more spam on the web site that you are visiting. Spam is what makes the black hat hackers money, so if they could they would fill the whole web site with it.
But when there is a will there is a way
So instead of the hackers trying to automate their way to success directly, they instead tried a new path to get into these web sites. Some of the hackers went directly to hiring people on the web to do their dirty work for them. They would go to job sites that catered to third world countries and they would offer a dollar for every couple of captchas that they would crack. While this was an efficient way to get the job done, most of these types of listings would get shut down very quickly.
So they came up with another way to do the job. They would trick people into filling out the captcha by letting them download porn but only being able to access it by filling out the captcha. This trick has proved to be very successful. The people on the adult web sites would get to see the content that they wanted to see and the hacker would be able to break the capcthas for the other web site that he had problems with. This is a plan that has worked for a long time and still does work for the most part.
And that is the problem. While web site owners are aware of this trick, they may not know how to stop it completely. While it is slower than how black hat hackers used to be able to crack the captchas that were out at the time, it is not slow enough and is becoming even less effective. And there is another problem as well. There are hackers smart enough now, or who at least have had enough time trying, that are able to crack even the hardest captchas out there right now. So now the web site owners are back to square one with the original problem that they had.
The battle against spam is going to be around for a long time and until they find another way, expect to see captchas for a long time as well.