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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Are You Human?: The Simplest CAPTCHA in the World

Are you human?

That's the basic question that any CAPTCHA seeks to answer by getting you to complete tasks that computers find difficult. Like typing the series of letters you see on the screen (used by many sites for registration) or adding two numbers together that some blogs use to moderate comments.

The thing that annoys me about most CAPTCHAs is that they're more difficult than they have to be to separate human from machine so I was thrilled to come across the CAPTCHA used by PassPack, an online password manager similar to Clipperz.

Take a look:

passpack captcha

It reads: "Just click the black square to continue, thanks."

Isn't it the simplest CAPTCHA that you've ever seen?

Thanks to Tara Kelly, founder of PassPack for the tip! Although we didn't use it as intended.


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Comment Archive

Reader Comments:

Thanks to you. We'll be re-enforcing that library soon and releasing it in our upcoming developers center.


is there something im missing? how is this supposed to stop bots? its simple RBG color recognition, and it still has the same issues as old captchas, it can easly be imported to other sites.

It might be too simple to be useful once the bot-makers catch on to it, but I think the principle is sound.

You can easily extend the concept to something like pick the two squares with the same color or something like that. Still a simple task for a human, but difficult for a robot.

Bots will actually have to get smart enough to parse human language and at the same time solve the CAPTCHA.

Robson Lee has the right idea. Right now the captcha is very simple and works because no bot has taken the time to learn it yet - only we use it, and bypassing it would give them very little gain (no where to post, just access to a sign up screen which in itself would be hard to parse).

Thus the "re-enforcing" I mentioned before releasing it as a library.

The idea is to turn it into a sort of library of games (is that the right word? - maybe puzzles?) that does not have a simple callback function that can be invoked, but rather cooperates with the server to customize instances and validate responses.

Either way, we'll be happy to have people participate in the development - we've got plenty on our plate as it is with PassPack. So volunteers, step forward :)

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