Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

May 21, 2012 -

Venture Beat has a fascinating report on a new Detroit-based startup called Are You a Human, who want to replace that irritating CAPTCHA text people have to use to prove they are human on just about every website on the Internet with playable mini-games. Obviously we endorse any idea that can eliminate CAPTCHA because it's irritating on so many levels...

The new tool is called "PlayThru," and it will help website owners fights bots and spammers by using simple mini-games. In the Venture Beat article they show one such mini-game where users are asked to put all the tools in a toolbox or put toppings on a pizza.

Companies already using it include Quicken Loans and Fat Head, and users have played nearly 2 million games to date, according to Venture Beat. The tool is easy enough to implement too: companies simply embed a simple game, which changes frequently and can even be used by people who prefer touch-screen-based devices like iPads, phones, etc.

"Text-based CAPTCHAs are difficult to decipher and easy to break, which forces them to become increasingly more difficult to solve,” Reid Tatoris, chief operating officer of Are You a Human, tells Venture Beat. "This vicious cycle makes it frustrating for users, who many times will give up before following through to a site. PlayThru combines intuitive puzzles with proprietary algorithms to distinguish human interaction from malicious automated attacks, giving content providers confidence they are dealing with real humans and giving end users a much more pleasant experience."

For the more technical aspects of it, check out this Venture Beat article.


Comments

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

the only thing i truly hate about captcha lately is the ones that are using random gibberish, almost entirely obscured letters/words, and the ones on english sites in foreign languages...

they weren't that bad until they became illegible and near impossible to read.

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

Actually this reminds me of what Nexon's Dungeon Fighter Online does with the 'Goblin Pad' where you have to enter your pin by navigating the little goblins to the right numbered doors... though its not required to use it its supposed to help with not getting your account hacked.

Seems like a neat idea I'm surprised someone hadn't come up with it sooner.

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Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

For a class last semester, we analyzed different CAPTCHAs, how they are vulnerable, and broke some of them. Although this isn't one of the ones we actually wrote the code for, this validator is flawed.

 

A program that makes the "mouse" click and drag repeatedly from random locations to a side lets say 250 times per side, so 1000 drags. It would solve the puzzle in a few second, be "validated" despite not being human.

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

That is an excellent post and did not think of it. There are a number of click scripts out there that can be implemented into a spam registration bot. So it could be easily defeated. However, the bot may have difficulty detecting a successful completion which I think is where the strength lies. If the bot can't detect a success state, it might not be able to know when to click the final submit button.

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

Sounds like a pretty cool concept. I played around with it and the games were fairly simple and easy to use. However, their audio alternative was difficult to use. I had to try 3 times before I was successful. I hope they makes some improvements in that regard. 

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

Bots should be able to play the game easier than the word games 0_o


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Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

but...but...but...

putting naughty words into the wildcard word spot was funny!

Re: Hate CAPTCHA? Play Games Instead to Validate Your Humanity

I like this idea.

 
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