Captcha Cracked

I recently read an article that hackers have cracked all current CAPTCHAs. You know what a CAPTCHA is right. It is some text that is supposed to be easy for a human to read, but a bot cannot decipher. Web sites use this to prevent spam from being spread. The real story was not that CAPTCHAs could be cracked. The amazing part was that the software required to do the crack can be obtained for free.

Now I am not sure if web sites have given up on the war against spam. I hear that even audio CAPTCHAs are broke. It might be inevitable that this was going to happen. Computers can be programmed to do amazing feats. But it often takes drive and motivation to overcome hard tasks. This can be translated into the need for money to fund these activities. Perhaps it has become very valuable to crack the CAPTCHAs. Therefore the price to break them was high enough to spur on some hackers. I cannot imagine why this has been posted for free. Maybe somebody is trying to get famous.

This reminds me of a request for bids on one of the freelance programming sites. Somebody was willing to pay between $50 to $100 to devise a program to break a certain CAPTCHA. I guess now there is no need to pay. There may be some hope. I tried to do a quick Google search on cracking CAPTCHAs. All I got back was a bunch of articles on cracking. It was interesting that many articles stated that tough CAPTCHAs were cracked using humans in the loop. For example, hackers would create a game in which players needed to break the CAPTCHA supplied by the program.

I think I might try to write my own software to break a simple CAPTCHA. And I will keep you posted on my findings.