CAPTCHA evokes sympathetic (aka correct) response

October 9, 2012 by Nancy Owano, report

(—CAPTCHAs by definition (stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are gotcha tools that are used to spot automated-attack attempts posing as people. CAPTCHA programs are designed to plant character strings as entry codes, asking Internet sign-up users to repeat the string of letters to confirm the users are humans. The CAPTCHA in a broader sense protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests with distorted characters, tests designed for humans to pass and for machines to fail. A CAPTCHA image shows a random string. Then the user types it back to enter a site or to submit a form.

The idea is that a computer trying to do so would have problems with , especially if the string were to appear very distorted. Now a group has come up with a new CAPTCHA with a twist. Sweden-based Civil Rights Defenders, a human rights organization, is offering a CAPTCHA in English and Swedish that presents a question about some situation that is representative of gross violations of human rights. The question asks how the user feels about it with three optional answers. The one-word answers to such questions describe approving or disapproving , words like: "fascinated," "euphoric," "wounded," "fearful."

Founded in 1982, Civil Rights Defenders this year wanted to come up with a CAPTCHA that not only uses "" to tell humans from robots but also, in the process, raises global awareness about civil rights issues. Instead of just decoding an image of distorted letters, the user must take a "correct" stand toward statements that describe the group's chosen examples of human-rights abuses. Users pick the one word that best matches how they feel about the situation. Only one answer is "correct," the answer that proves the user is bothered by the rights abuse being described. "Now everyone can take a stand for human rights and challenge their visitors by installing the CAPTCHA on their blog or website," said Defenders.

News of the free CAPTCHA download has generated responses that it is an imaginative way of informing the public about human rights issues but the program may not exactly win first prize in the security race to outsmart machine bots.

Learning how to pick the correct emotion may not be impossible from a limited set of options. Writing on Naked Security, the Sophos security blog, one comment was that: "at the moment there seems to be a very limited selection of questions - and all the ones I saw required a negative response. Wider gallimaufry [jumble] of questions for web users to ponder - both negative and positive - would probably be a more effective challenge for automated bots."

Explore further: Stanford researchers outsmart captcha codes

More information: … t-captcha-codes.html … tects-human-empathy/

Related Stories

Stanford researchers outsmart captcha codes

November 3, 2011

( -- Stanford researchers say that captcha security codes, asking Internet sign-up users to repeat a string of letters to prove the users are human, can be thwarted, and they have successfully defeated captcha ...

Stanford computer scientists find Internet security flaw

May 24, 2011

( -- Researchers at the Stanford Security Laboratory create a computer program to defeat audio captchas on website account registration forms, revealing a design flaw that leaves them vulnerable to automated attacks.

Moving video to 'captcha' robot hackers

December 29, 2009

We see the popular "captcha" security mechanism often ― wavy letters websites ask us to type into a box. It's used by web pages and newsletter sign-up forms to prevent computer robots from hacking into servers and databases. ...

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 09, 2012
Even if the responses were not mostly negative with just 3 options any bot has a 33% chance to beat the test, that's somewhat higher than standard captchas.
not rated yet Oct 09, 2012
All CAPTCHAs are easily defeated. Hackers only need to open porn sites, capture the CAPTCHA images from sites they want to attack and let human suckers (phrasing) break them while simultaneously ensuring it's not a bot attack on their own site. Once they have the human answer they enter the remote site easily.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.