Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart, otherwise known as CAPTCHA, is that annoying panel with the weird words and fonts that you encounter many times that requires you to enter the characters exactly as shown.
One’s CAPTCHA experiences can vary greatly between applications; I have encountered some that were completely unreadable. However, CAPTCHA plans an important role in keeping spam at bay. Machines are smart and getting smarter every day, but current bot programs and other malicious software are not capable of reading the CAPTCHA characters and entering them correctly into the pane.
The first CAPTCHA puzzles
The first CAPTCHA puzzles were relatively simple, usually consisting of 3 or 4 numbers or letters, but over time they have become progressively complex and now often include special characters and strange fonts. Other variants require you to solve simple math equations. I encountered one recently where one of the words was upside down! Initially it threw me but then I reasoned that, since I had no way of entering upside down characters, I just typed in the other word and that was the correct “answer”.
Future CAPTCHA puzzles
Anticipate CAPTCHA puzzles to get even more complex and innovative going forward, as companies continue to try and stay ahead of the hackers and others that are intent on overcoming them and drowning the world in worthless spam. Consider them a necessary evil.
If you operate a website that allows people to interact with it by posting comments or requesting information, you should add CAPTCHA puzzles to those areas of your site. Web savvy users are now very familiar with them and will not be deterred but it will keep most spammers from posting their garbage on your site.
What about your experiences of CAPTCHA? Comment below and let me know.
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