Captcha Is Changing, Here’s How You Change With It

Keeping up with the CAPTCHAs.

For years, we’ve been asked to type out barely legible phrases into a security check box to prove we’re not robots. Well, those days are now over.

Google has endeavoured to make the internet a safer place, utilising CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) to protect website users from damaging bots, spam and cyber-attacks online.  Their methods have continuously evolved as hackers cracked the code. While necessary for protecting users and websites, the security tools tended to reduce usability and made it difficult for those with vision, hearing and learning difficulties.  Luckily, with every new release the hurdles decreased and earlier this year we said goodbye to the internet’s most annoying cybersecurity feature.

Yes, CAPTCHA was canned by Google, making way for the brand new, invisible version called ReCAPTCHA. This tool discreetly monitors browsing patterns to determine whether a website visitor is a human or a bot.

What is ReCAPTCHA?

Google’s new invisible ReCAPTCHA claims to be tough on bots and easy on humans. Their previous release “No CAPTCHA” enables users to prove their humanness with a single click. Google has now taken it one step further by making it invisible. Through advanced machine learning and security, humans will be let through to a website or purchase an item without seeing a checkbox, whereas suspicious ones and bots will have to solve simple challenges.

Why is ReCAPTCHA useful for your website?

This free service from Google protects your website from spam and abuse. Using an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive CAPTCHAs to keep automated software from engaging in harmful behaviour and activities on your website. It does this while allowing legitimate users to enter, purchase products and view content with ease.

The great thing about ReCAPTCHA is that it continually updates and learns. Every time Googles CAPTCHA’s are solved, the effort made by real humans helps digitise the text, annotate images and build machine learning datasets.

The history of Captchas

ReCAPTCHA has come a long way since the days of the first Captchas which were introduced to stop automated programs signing up for services such as email addresses and social media accounts – remember the Instagram bots that weren’t fooling anyone and were shut down earlier this year? The idea behind stopping bots through Captchas was simple: pick a task that humans find easy to achieve, and a machine finds very hard (i.e. typing obscure words), and require that task to be completed before the website user can continue.

The first Captchas often relied on obscured letters and numbers. However, they were quite easy to bypass, given the limited characters available in the Latin alphabet. When attempting to overcome this by further obscuring the characters, real humans – particularly those with poor vision – were locked out.

Fast-forward a decade and Google’s plan to remove the burden of Captchas is now in place. As ReCAPTCHA continues to learn and evolve, so will cybersecurity.

At iFactory, we believe your website is a living thing, requiring continual monitoring and tweaks to maintain optimum performance.   Whether you need fresh content, new functions or protection from cyber-attacks, speak to iFactory today.

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