To Err Is Human

brain Forbes has a profile of a stealth software company called Pramana which is looking to replace the ubiquitous CAPTCHA with something better. Pramana analyzes your behavior when you browse a website to decide if you are human or not and then uses that to allow/prevent access to human-only actions. While there aren’t too many details they might be using mouse movements, click times and other indicators of human reaction time.

CAPTCHAs are notoriously inadequate for preventing spam as OCR technology continues to improve. Tesseract is one popular tool that is supposedly used by spammers. Forbes also points out that most of the companies that suffer from CAPTCHA breakage fund the projects and research that lead to the OCR tools to break their CAPTCHAs.

I’ve always thought a fun solution to this problem is to include a fake ad in your advertisement space that asks “If you’re a human, click here”. Most spam bots won’t be sophisticated enough to find a randomly placed animated image and click on it. Then again, humans don’t click on ads very much either. Even I would be afraid of admitting I was human, fearing being sold some kind of “humanity enhancement” pill.

It makes you taller, you know.

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