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What Is Captcha? Everything You Need To Know!

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An important question: if you’re not familiar with captcha, what is it? It’s a verification test that confirms that an online form is submitted by a human rather than a software application. Keep reading to find out more!

- Updated: 4th Nov 2022, 23:14 IST
  • 1
    A brief history
  • 2
    What do you understand by captcha?
  • 3
    Types of Captcha
    • Captcha Image
    • Audio Captcha
    • Text-based Captcha
    • No Captcha/ReCaptcha
    • Social Media Sign in Captcha
    • Word or Math Problems
  • 4
    So, what exactly is Captcha for?
  • 5
    How does Captcha work?
  • 6
    Drawbacks
  • 7
    Conclusion

If you’re a frequent Internet user, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a captcha box, which appears whether you’re posting a remark, making an account, or signing in to a website. Isn’t it absurd to find a robot asking you to prove that you are a human? And then suddenly you feel frustrated as to what’s with these puzzles? So, what are these enigmatic puzzles, and why are they so important to solve while surfing the web. we have mentioned here everything you need to know about captcha.

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A brief history

It’s unclear who was the first to implement captcha codes. On the one side, there’s the AltaVista team, which created them in 1997 and implemented them in its search engine to prevent bots from using them. With the publication of a patent in 1998, this research group’s method became a reality.

Years later, in 2003, a research team from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) devised a similar system, which they called a captcha. But, what exactly is a captcha?

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What do you understand by captcha?

Captcha is a verification test that confirms that an online form is submitted by a human rather than a software application. It’s designed to keep bots, automatic sweepstakes entry services, hackers, and other automated logins from taking advantage of the system.

What’s the storey behind the amusing name? CAPTCHA is an abbreviation for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.”

Captchas are helpful in a variety of situations. They keep hackers from attempting “brute force” assaults, in which they try every possible password combination to get access to an account. They also guard against bogus sweepstakes entries and fake contest votes.

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Types of Captcha

Captcha Image

Captcha Image

Text-based CAPTCHAs have been phased out in favour of these. Image-based CAPTCHAs use prominent graphical elements such as scenery, shapes, or animals. Typically, captchas ask users to select images that coordinate with a subject or recognise pictures that don’t fit.

Audio Captcha

Audio Captcha

Audio Captchas were established as an optional feature that grants openness to people who are otherwise hampered. These are commonly used in conjunction with image-based or text-based Captchas. These Captchas play an audio recording of a sequence of digits or letters that a user submits at that point.

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Text-based Captcha

Text-based Captcha

The original method of checking people was through text-based captchas. These CAPTCHAs can be made up of well-known phrases or words, as well as arbitrary combinations of letters and digits. Some content-based CAPTCHAs also recall capitalisation variations. The CAPTCHA presents these characters in an unusual way that necessitates translation. Characters can be alienated by distorting, rotating, or scaling them. Covering characters with realistic elements such as dots, arcs, lines, background noise, or colour is also an option.

No Captcha/ReCaptcha

No Captcha/ReCaptcha

No captcha or ReCaptcha is easier for users than most other types, thanks to Google’s adoption of it. In a nutshell, it provides a checkbox that says “I’m not a robot,” which clients must select, and that’s it.

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Social Media Sign in Captcha

Social Media Sign in Captcha

In contrast to captcha, a popular alternative requires users to sign in using a social profile such as Facebook, Google, or Linkedin. Using the social media site’s single sign-on feature, the user’s subtleties will be automatically filled in.

Word or Math Problems

Word or Math Problems captcha

Problems with words or math captcha components require visitors to solve a simple numerical problem, such as “5+6” or “20-5.” The assumption is that a bot will find it difficult to discern the question and formulate a response. Another version is a word problem, in which the customer is asked to type a missing word in a sentence or complete a collection of related terms.

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So, what exactly is Captcha for?

The CAPTCHA code is supposed to protect you against spam, but how does it work? Most websites have parts where you may register, fill out a contact form, or leave feedback or reviews. Users can interact with the site on each of these pages, but there’s no guarantee that a bot won’t do so. The most common scenario in which a CAPTCHA code comes in handy is when you wish to prevent bots from leaving spam comments. But that isn’t the only scenario.

CAPTCHAs also serve to improve a site’s security in other ways. For example, by securing accesses: as a result, it is frequently requested that they be included in the site’s access pages as well. Captcha allows you to verify your identity after you’ve entered your access info.

Even if a bot tries to access it with an email address and password, it will be unable to confirm the captcha. Whenever you register or try to replace a password with a new one, the same thing happens.

In all of these cases, the existence of the captcha code prevents unauthorised access, ensuring that the activities are carried out by a real person.

As a result, using CAPTCHA as part of a larger plan to keep your site safe is critical. Bots have become increasingly harder to hold at bay as artificial intelligence has progressed. That’s why, throughout time, newer and more effective ways that can’t be readily overcome by robots have been devised. Let’s take a look at each of these CAPTCHA types one by one.

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How does Captcha work?

How does Captcha work?

A series of letters and numbers are displayed in the most frequent CAPTCHAs. Before submitting the form, the entrant must type those characters.
In theory, computers can recognise text from photos, but they require a clean, crisp image to do it successfully.

CAPTCHAs are frequently deformed or set on a complex backdrop pattern to make it harder for computers to decipher the characters. The shape of letters and numerals is difficult for software to recognise.

Some CAPTCHAs urge viewers to play a game instead of typing in unusual characters and numbers. This is likewise a test that a computer would struggle to pass.

Some CAPTCHAs allow you to listen to the letters as they are spoken out loud, which is very useful for visually challenged people. They may also ask you to complete other tasks, such as selecting all of the images depicting a house or a road sign.

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Drawbacks

CAPTCHA is a commonly used security feature that can be somewhat unpleasant. Let’s face it: typing weirdly shaped letters or completing other types of challenges over and over is tedious. Okay, we get why programmers use it. Regardless, it appears like they are attempting to delegate their obligations to you. You’d be partially correct if you said that. There is some truth to it, but finding another way to do it is quite difficult. You can try some advanced algorithms, but most of the time, they are easily fooled.

Accessibility is another issue. Even if you have excellent eyesight, you may experience difficulties from time to time. It’s not always easy to recognise a legitimate text or image (select-image Captchas. What if your vision is a little hazy or you suffer from an eye condition? The audio version appears to be the ideal option, however, it is frequently of low quality. What if you only use text-based browsers or don’t have a sound card?

Captcha takes up a lot of your time. You could argue that it just takes 2,3 seconds, but suppose it is used by every website. How many do you go to in a day? How many steps may a website ask you to do to prove your humanity?

A captcha can degrade the usability and accessibility of your website. Even though Google’s new reCaptcha solves the problem, not every system is up to the task.

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Conclusion

There appears to be no perfect solution. There are new generations of bots for every new generation of captcha. They become wiser the more advanced algorithms you apply to protect them. But does this imply that a captcha is useless and only serves to upset users? No, the concept remains sound. For most basic bots, even simple captchas are a considerable hurdle. We shouldn’t take it away from you, but please remember that captcha does not protect you or your users from data/credentials leakage, which can be caused by third-party scripts on the website or browser extensions.

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Highlights of the Story

  • Came across a lot of captchas recently? Want to know what exactly is Captcha?
  • Captcha is a verification test that confirms that an online form is submitted by a human rather than a software application.
  • Here’s everything you need to know about Captcha!

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