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BizReport : Research archives : January 24, 2012

Game-based CAPTCHA alternative offers increased security, fun for users

CAPTCHAs have long been used as a means of defense against hackers and bots but the increasing trend of outsourcing the hacking of CAPTCHAs to cheap labor forces could prompt the search for a different method. How about the gamification of the verification process?

by Helen Leggatt

are you a human logo.jpgA CAPTCHA, or 'Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart', is a challenge used on websites to verify that engagement with a website is being performed by a human and not generated by a computer. They are used to block bots and prevent all types of spam, scrapers and other malicious attacks.

However, the CAPTCHAs themselves are under attack from cybercrime perpetrators who are outsourcing the cracking of the system to large forces of cheap labor.

It's time for a new verification process and one company, Are You A Human, has taken up the challenge. Instead of the often illegible text and scribbles used for the current CAPTCHAs, Are You A Human is using game mechanics.

Called the PlayThru, their verson of the verification process requires users to complete a very simple 2-3 second game. According to the developers it's not only more fun and less frustrating than CAPTCHAs it's also more secure.

"The PlayThru is more secure than CAPTCHA because the PlayThru requires over five levels of interaction with the game versus simple optical character recognition for CAPTCHA," says the company in its FAQs.

"In addition, a bot does not know the specific type of game it will be served at any one time. We have many games with different instructions in rotation at any one time, and a bot has no idea what he will get in any instance."

You can try out a PlayThru on Are You A Human's website.

Tags: bots, CAPTCHA, cybercrime, data protection, gamification, online privacy, online security, spam, verification process

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  • jaffa

    Great blog.



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