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Alternative to CAPTCHA 

Added: 10/04/2006, Hits: 3,278, Rating: 0, Comments: 0, Votes: 0
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If you are a webmaster, you have likely run into plenty of problems with people attempting to spam your site by creating fake registrations or unwanted form submissions using bots. A while back, Carnegie Mellon University came up with CAPTCHA which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". When you register for a site or fill out a form and see distorted letters or images that you must enter into a field, the site is using CAPTCHA.

At first CAPTCHA was a lifesaver, dramatically reducing the time webmasters had to spend deleting spam posts and registrations. Not surprisingly, the spammers found a way around it using computer character recognition software rendering CAPTCHA nearly worthless (in most cases).

So now what? A member of the PHPBB forum community came up with a hack for PHPBB forums that kills fake registrations dead in their tracks. His methodology is simple, but genius and should be used as the next wave of robot spam prevention. The hack he created is called AntiBot and essentially does this: When a new member attempts to register, the registration form contains a random question selected from a pool that you create. The question may contain an image that you need to view in order to answer the question, or may simply be text based. Every webmaster creates their own questions so there is no uniformity that the bots can figure out.

Where AntiBot leaves CAPTCHA in the dust is the fact that it would take true AI, not character recognition, in order to answer these questions. The technology needed to subvert this system simply isn't available and it will be a very long time before it exists and is affordable enough for low-life spammers. I hope the author of this simple forum hack and other promote this very clever method so that all future software with online forms includes it. It would literally destroy automated form spamming - the result of this would make it extremely difficult for these people to make money and would greatly decrease the number of junk sites on the internet.

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