Friday, June 08, 2012

The Latest Round Of CAPTCHAs Left Me Speechless

During the past week, I have seen a small handful of mentions of the latest Blogger CAPTCHA form, so I was not surprised this evening when I encountered one, in real life. In this case, where I was privileged to see these real examples, I suspect that the CAPTCHA itself was only marginally involved, as the cause of the problem being discussed, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

In looking at these three examples, I immediately hit "Publish" on the first two. I attempted the third, simply because I wanted to move forward with the actual problem diagnosis.

The "easy" "words" which contain "characters" in black, on a clean white background, are sort of guessable. I've seen enough of them. They suck - but they are predictable.

The other "words", in the shadow box, with noisy details - I guess represent the latest attempt to keep them from being guessable by automated processes. These, I fear, are simply over the edge.

??? After looking several times, I can see a dim "3" - so I suppose I would guess that, if I was reasonably sure that I had a good chance with the other, relatively easy "word" ("tokshous"?).



????? This one, I cannot begin to see characters. I would immediately pass on this one, every time. Even if "asuchSe" is correct for the "easy" "word" (or might that be "asuch5e"??). FAIL.



I can sort of see characters - possibly all capital letters, and a space in the middle. A guess, fortunately correct, was "AF9" (hoping that the space was not significant). And, hoping "Iflages" to be the "easy" word (that could be "If1ages", just as easily).



You get one chance with each CAPTCHA - a wrong guess, on either "word", simply leaves you looking at a different CAPTCHA. So, you have no opportunity to learn from your mistakes.

The above 3 examples show the "non easy" "word" semi visible, at least. Recently, I have seen some CAPTCHAs where the "non easy" "word" was just a black box on the screen - no content at all visible. In one case, I hit "Publish" 4 times without entering anything - simply because I could see absolutely no detail in the black box. Will your readers be that persistent?

If you are using CAPTCHA screening in the comments, on your blog, you will have to decide for yourself whether you wish to continue doing so. I removed the CAPTCHA from my blog, a month ago. Had I not removed the CAPTCHA a month ago, I would most surely have done so, today.

Were I be idly preparing to comment on your blog (for any purpose not involving me diagnosing a problem for someone), and were I to encounter these CAPTCHAs, this would simply be the last time I attempted to publish a comment, on your blog.

Comment publication I regard as maybe optional - it's no great problem (to me) if I can't publish a comment, on your blog. I have no idea what I will do, when encountering these abominations under a high stress situation, however.
  1. Account creation.
  2. Account / blog unlock.
  3. Two step authentication necessitated re login (which I do see, regularly, when using the forums).
None of those 3 scenarios lend themselves to sitting there and guessing indecipherable puzzles, with marginally predictable outcome. Especially as my suspicion is that CAPTCHAs protect us only from the very simple hackers and spammers.

I don't use CAPTCHA screening - though I will moderate, here.

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8 comments:

Ms. A said...

Those new ones are real boogers!

Comment1 said...

I'm pretty sure that's a "Number 9". As in "No. 9", with the o tiny and underlined.

I'm quite sure that for some of these things there is more than one, correct answer.

David Kutcher said...

As much as I'd love to use CAPTCHAs to make my life easier, I've simply stopped and instead moderate (and mark lots of spam!). I hope that the spam marking actually does something to stop future scripts and spammers (but I doubt it). Until then I'd rather not provide a barrier to legitimate submissions even if it means that I have to wade through spam to do so.

Kevin Routh said...

Great post! I almost never get the Captcha right the first time. I took it off my blogs a while ago. There is nothing that prevents me from leaving a comment on a blog as much as having Captcha enabled...

Carole of Brum said...

I've been deliberately typing the wrong characters when I encounter CAPTCHA, and find that it DOES allow you to make mistakes. Occasionally it will not allow my first attempt, but my second attempt with deliberate errors is almost always accepted.

the only time I havent had my comments and CAPTCHA errors accepted was when I deliberately typed ALL incorrect characters.

I agree though, if I see CAPTCHA enabled, I usually leave the blog without leaving comments, the only exceptions being to experiment with typing incorrect characters.

Gabriele C. said...

I switched that nuisance off a few months ago and don't get more spam, but when I asked a few friends with higher traffic / more comments per post to give it a try, they had to go back to using the Captcha because they got spammed. Looks like the spam detection keeps detecting the wrong spam (see your post above) ;)

Ken Qualls said...

I ran across a site where there is nothing visible at all to type into the box. Whats up with that?

Tito Dutta said...

I can not understand anything in those CAPTCHAs