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VIDEO: Start-up claims Captcha crack

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 02 Nov 2013 20:49 User comments (3)

VIDEO: Start-up claims Captcha crack A U.S. start-up claims it has developed software that can accurately answer Captcha prompts 90 percent of the time.
Captchas are a security measure that almost every Internet user has encountered: a graphic or sound that give a human a word to enter in order to fight spam bots. The software is modelled on how the human brain functions to recognise patterns according to its developer, Vicarious.

The Recursive Cortical Network software can operate and even "learn" to a degree by mimicking processes in the brain. The goal of the start-up is to develop the technology for robotics, medical image analysis and world domination - OK I made that last part up.

"The Vicarious algorithms achieve a level of effectiveness and efficiency much closer to actual human brains," Vicarious co-founder D Scott Phoenix said in a statement.

Luis von Ahn, a computer scientist who was part of the team that developed the Captcha system at Carnegie Mellon University, said it was difficult to verify the claims made by Vicarious, but said if necessary Captchas can always be make stronger by increasing distortion.

Vicarious - Turing Test 1: Captcha from Vicarious Inc on Vimeo.

Numeric Recaptcha 10x Consecutive from Vicarious Inc on Vimeo.

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3 user comments

12.11.2013 22:58

The problem with Luis Von Ahn's statement is that CAPTCHAs are already difficult for many humans to process. Make it much more difficult and they'll simply be useless.

23.11.2013 9:33

The human brain doesn't do anything to process the image it's all pre made images etc

If you read the image file you could probably work out the image but really there's little point you could just alter the image to be a sound or both.

Some captures are broken I'd say as you can enter the correct thing and it'll fail it's not that the image is hard to read the program doesn't work properly at times.

33.11.2013 10:58

Er... Your brain does nothing BUT process any image (or data); that's pretty much its entire job. I don't see what your point is there.

It's been pretty conclusively shown that humans, once literate, read more by the shape of a given word, not by the individual letters (except, of course, for unfamiliar words). A sufficiently-distorted CAPTCHA, however, can not only interfere with that, it can make even discerning individual letters quite difficult. They have the "refresh" button for a reason, you know.

My point is that they're already at a borderline; if it gets much harder to parse, a significant percentage of people won't be able to deal with it.

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