The Trouble with CAPTCHA - More Alternatives
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A number of other CAPTCHA alternatives have also been explored. These include animation-based systems as shown in these examples, and multiple-choice systems in which the user is asked to complete sentences by selecting the correct word from a drop-down list.
Non-CAPTCHA solutions may also have some value. One such is the inclusion of dummy form elements. This is an interesting approach, as it turns the traditional method of actively trying to identify the legitimate user on its head, seeking to identify the bot instead. It does so by attempting to trick the bot into completing part of a form that human users are asked to ignore: any authentication attempt that includes a response to the dummy element is rejected.
As long as there is value to spammers and advertisers in gaining access to accounts on social sites, the next method of breaking any new authentication system will be just around the corner. Nonetheless, although it is unlikely that any perfect system can be devised for distinguishing humans from automated systems, each of the approaches outlined here can provide part of the solution to this challenging problem.
In the ongoing battle to maintain a quality service for legitimate users while denying access to those wishing to exploit sites for their own ends, innovations such as these are welcome and necessary alternatives in the armory of site developers and hosts.
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