Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Am I really a human?

Lots of web sites implement a CAPTCHA system to stop access to their site from automated programs. Normally this involves showing a distorted picture of a few letters and asking the user to read them and type them into a text box to verify that they are a real human. The general idea is that reading such a distorted picture should be an easy task for a human, but it is a surprisingly difficult task for automated image recognition programs.

When CAPTCHAs were first introduced the distortion in the picture was relatively minor and so it was not a major inconvenience for user to type in the letters. However, it should not have been a major surprise that the bad guys invested in improved software for reading distorted letters and the CAPTCHA developers were then forced to implement even greater distortion of their sample letters to trick the automated software. As a result I now find that the letters in most CAPTCHAs are extremely difficult for me to read.

Maybe it is simply the fact that my sight is failing because I am getting older, but the last few times I have failed to complete it at the first attempt. I normally require at least 2 or 3 attempts before I manage to get the letters right which probably makes the site suspect I am not a real human. Do other people find the same problem with completing CAPTCHAs?

No comments:

Post a Comment