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Startup comes up with CAPTCHA beating software

Not just OCR, almost AI

A San Francisco-based startup is telling the world+dog that it has developed an algorithm that can crack CAPTCHAs with no human intervention, Reuters reports. This is not the first attempt at cracking CAPTCHA with a fully automated solution, but most previous attempts failed miserably.

Although it’s boring to deal with, CAPTCHA can also be rather amusing, with phrases such as “thank cyanide”, “punch wife” or “touchy perverts.” However, it was never foolproof. The trouble is that actual humans are cheap, so there are several CAPTCHA cracking services out there, offering to crack 5,000 CAPTCHA’s for a few bucks.

Vicarious claims their algorithm is different and a lot smarter than simple OCR solutions, it has a success rate of 90 to 97 percent, yet CAPTCHA is considered broken if a machine can figure it out just 1 percent of the time.

However, spammers won’t be opening the champers anytime soon. The company will not offer the algorithm commercially, it will be used for research and it could be deployed more widely. For example, one security expert says the algorithm could help improve the reliability of optical character recognition solutions used by banks and other institutions to scan cheques and documents.

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