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CAPTCHA is a waste of time

by on04 December 2023

Slows the internet and provides little protection

CAPTCHA systems are a waste of time, according to boffins at UC Irvine.

The team found that older people can take considerably more time to solve different kinds of CAPTCHAs, as did non-native English speakers. The annoyance can lead a significant chunk of users to give up.

To make matters worse, CAPTCHA provides little security for website owners as there are cheap CAPTCHA-solving services you can hire. (2Captcha will solve a thousand CAPTCHAs for a dollar, using human workers paid as low as 50 cents an hour. Newer companies, such as Capsolver, claim to be instead using AI and charge roughly the same.)

UC Irvine and Microsoft found that most of the 1,400 human participants took 15 to 26 seconds to solve a CAPTCHA with a grid of images, with 81 per cent accuracy.

 Meanwhile, a bot tested in March 2020 was shown to solve similar puzzles in an average of 19.9 seconds, with 83 per cent accuracy.

The article argues that for roughly 20 years, "CAPTCHAs have been engaged in an arms race against the machines," and that now "The burden is on CAPTCHAs to keep up" — which they're doing by evolving.

 Google Cloud senior director of product management said that Google's reCAPTCHA v3 should be okay. It typically ascertains your humanity by monitoring your website activity before you even click the checkbox, comparing it with models of "organic human interaction,"

But Motor Biscuit has noticed that Google’s reCAPTCHA v3 seems obsessed with cars, buses, crosswalks, and other vehicle-related images and might be harvesting data for autonomous vehicles.

According to an old Google Security Blog, using reCAPTCHA and Street View to make locations on Maps more accurate was happening in 2014. It would ask users to find the street numbers on Google Street View and confirm they matched. Previously, it would use distorted text or letters. Using this data, Google could correlate the numbers with addresses and help pinpoint the location on Google Maps.

Last modified on 04 December 2023
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