Via David Chess we learn that evil web spidering robots have found a way around yet another security device. The CAPTCHA system works by showing the visitor a picture, see at right, and then asking them to type in the word hidden in that picture. It’s a Turing test of that the visitor has at hand a human visual system.
The robot’s authors hacked around this by having the robot turn around and ask it’s human friends to answer the question for it.
But at least one potential spammer managed to crack the CAPTCHA test. Someone designed a software robot that would fill out a registration form and, when confronted with a CAPTCHA test, would post it on a free porn site. Visitors to the porn site would be asked to complete the test before they could view more pornography, and the software robot would use their answer to complete the e-mail registration.
This reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago about how the SAT folks became curious about the high scores at one school. They traveled out there to discover that they class was solving the test as they did all other problems in their community, cooperatively.