CAPTCHA is at Death's Door

CAPTCHA, one of the most annoying forms of verification. We can all recount when we didn’t know whether the “I” was an “L” or the “L” was an “I”, in the fear of having to restart the whole process but a lot of us have no idea what the logic behind this is.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test used to tell apart humans from computers. Basically, CAPTCHA concludes if the user is human or just a spam bot. CAPTCHAs stretch or manipulates letters and numbers which spam bots will be unable to interpret. The most they could do is input random symbols which statically is unlikely to be the correct symbols, and rely on human ability to determine which symbols they are.

But why make such a bold statements in writing. It seems that CAPTCHA should be able to stop spam bots which may have been the case in the 2000’s but as AI and technology advances its becoming easier to trick CAPTCHA with AI now more than ever. In 2013 an AI start up announced they had tricked CAPTCHA four years later they released there methodology another case in 2018 academics developed a new machine learning algorithm that can trick text based CAPTCHA fast and effortlessly.

You would think perhaps the image based CAPTCHA would be so much harder to trick, however Suphannee Sivakorn, Jason Polakis, and Angelos D. Keromytis claim to be able to break the Google reCAPTCHA using deep learning, releasing documents stating their system is extremely effective and can solve 70.78% of the image reCAPTCHA challenges and only needing 19 seconds to do it. They also used their method on the Facebook Image captcha reaching an accuracy rate of 83.5%, proving the flaw in traditional CAPTCHA and the need for a more innovative method.

In response, to the battle between spam bots and website owners, Google announced at the end of 2016 an Invisible reCaptcha that would use a system called Advanced Risk Analysis. The system uses Google's AI to look out for indications of human behaviour by running in the background and detecting mouse activity and the amount of time it takes to click on a page, and removes the 'I am not a robot box' from websites. This was Google’s way of setting a new wave of innovative ways of carrying out the Turning Test.

So in a way CAPTCHA is dying but the traditional CAPTCHA giving more room for more innovation and less annoying versions of CAPTCHA.