Thank you for stopping by my blog. This is my first dip into the blogging trench, started out of my curiosity to know what actually is a blog. I try to put here my readings from various sources; books, blogs, sites. I also grab stuff from here & there and try to showcase it in my own style here. If you'd like my scribblings, please subscribe to my full text RSS feeds.

Currently I am experimenting a few new features on my blog, like Peekaboo and Post Summary; the reason for the slight distortion you see. I am hoping to frame up these soon, please bear with me!


Wikipedia describes a CAPTCHA as "a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine that the response is not generated by a computer." It is a contrived acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart", trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University. They are widely used everywhere on the web to avoid spamming.

Of lately, are these CAPTCHAs getting redefined, are they up for a face lift? Or have they already got it? If you've come across a CAPTCHA that needs you to make an effortless numerical adding up and supply the answer as the key, or answer a simple common sense question; you've just bumped into the fresh class of CAPTCHAs out there...the all new

or Mathematical captchas. MAPTCHAs are based on the principle of ‘Security through obscurity’, a principle related to security engineering. This principle is defined as ‘A system relying on security through obscurity may have theoretical or actual security vulnerabilities, but its owners or designers believe that the flaws are not known, and that attackers are unlikely to find them.’ Functionality wise; they are positively superior to their previous generations. Today we might already have smart spam bots (you can say smart enough) running around the web that could read and interpret the conventional CAPTCHAs which are mere images that are slightly tricky to understand. But MAPTCHAs are simply too much for them. The user essentially needs to be HUMAN to execute a simple math calculation or to be able to respond to a simple question. I don't see any way in for spam bots, at least in the near future.

Now the question is: are MAPTCHAs intelligent enough to understand the user answer? Say, a MAPTCHA on a web form says 'what is 3 + 5?’ The user in reality needs to supply the sum of 3 and 5 to clear the MAPTCHA. So does the user punch in '8' or 'eight' or 'Eight' or 'EIGHT'? If the MAPTCHAs was designed to accept '8', that's fine. If it were designed to recognize the answer in alphabets, which one of these is right: eight, Eight, EIGHT or something else? I don't think MAPTCHAs are intelligent yet like Google's 'did you mean'. Also, there is absolutely no hint which one to answer. With the intervention of a pinch of common sense, we presume the answer is '8', because the question in context was '3 + 5' and not 'three + five'. Correct me if I'm wrong. Trust me, I've tried all four mishmashes but it wouldn't allow me through. Frustrated I simply closed the web page. I knew I was bad at math right from my school days but definitely not terrible. Any thoughts or answers on this?

1 DWine Insight(s):

I would have definitely thought '8' for sure! Maybe something is messed up with their little MAPTCHA because all the ones I've ever seen with "3 + 5", etc has been a normal number response.

09 May, 2008  

Newer Post Older Post Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds.