Is this the end for annoying Captchas? Technology backed by Google and Apple could render the security test designed to weed out online bots obsolete
- Growing numbers are signing up for Privacy Pass, meaning they solve just one
- Technology is being backed by tech giants such as Apple and Google and others
Captchas could be on the way out after tech companies finally started coming up with alternatives.
Growing numbers of users are signing up for Privacy Pass which means they only have to solve one Captcha.
They are then given a digital token which is stored in their browser and tells other websites they are a human being.
The technology is backed by Apple and Google among others and could soon mean the end of Captchas entirely, the Washington Post reported.
The term Captcha was coined in 2003 and stands for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’.
They are designed to stop spam and usually involve users clicking boxes to identify which contain an image.
Growing numbers of users are signing up for Privacy Pass which means they only have to solve one Captcha
Growing numbers of users are signing up for Privacy Pass which means they only have to solve one Captcha (Stock Image)
A typical puzzle may show a person multiple images and ask them to click on all the one which show an everyday object like a bus or fire hydrant.
But their use has become so widespread that users have to fill them out multiple times a day with studies showing they take 25 seconds on average to solve.
Bots have also become more sophisticated at bypassing Captchas, making them irrelevant.
Privacy Pass was developed by CloudFlare, an online security company, and comes as a browser extension that users download.
Similar software is being developed by Ticketmaster which gets its servers to talk to a user’s machine to identify who is a legitimate user and who isn’t.
One way would be to look for small differences in fonts between different browsers that show it is being controlled by a bot and not a real person.
The movement of the mouse is also another clue as humans’ fiddle with it frequently in a way that is hard to copy.
Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer of Cloudflare, said that Captchas ‘have been broken to some extent for a long time’.
He said: ‘Captchas are such a nightmare for people that something better had to come along’.