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Andrew Sullivan asullivan at
Thu Jan 24 16:00:50 UTC 2013

On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 09:50:15AM -0600, Joe Greco wrote:

> A CAPTCHA doesn't need to be successful against every possible threat,
> it merely needs to be effective against some types of threats.  For
> example, web pages that protect resources with a CAPTCHA are great at
> making it much more difficult for someone with l33t wget skills from 
> scraping a website.

Well, yes and no.  Lately, AFAICT, most CAPTCHAs have been so
successfully attacked by wgetters that they're quite easy for machines
to break, but difficult for humans to use.  For example, I can testify
that I now fail about 25% of the reCAPTCHA challenges I perform,
because the images are so distorted I just can't make them out (it's
much worse on my mobile, given the combination if its small screen and
my middle-aged eyes).

So it's now more like airport security: a big hassle for the
legitimate users but not really much of a barrier for a real
attacker.  A poor trade-off.



Andrew Sullivan
Dyn, Inc.
asullivan at

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