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Spammers Outsourcing Captcha-Cracking Task For Cheap

Researchers at UC San Diego recently conducted a study according to which, spammers are recruiting numerous people largely in foreign countries to crack CAPTCHA systems at just a rate of $1/1,000 cracks.

A particular code, CAPTCHA comes as a distorted text, which one has to enter in a web-page whilst attempting at registering a fresh e-mail account alternatively adding a comment to an online forum/blog which utilizes the system. Originally, CAPTCHA was designed to stop spammers from overwhelmingly scattering their dreck on public forums, as CAPTCHAs for humans are by default simple to crack; however, for PCs they are frequently hard to get correctly as much as necessary.

But those who invented CAPTCHAs possibly did not think this would happen. For, numerous people work for not even $50 every month towards cracking innumerable CAPTCHAs that automated middlemen deliver to them. Subsequently, when the results are obtained, these middlemen put them up for sale for spammers so that they can be utilized to create fake e-mail accounts as well as to feed into spam bots for making posts on blogs/forums.

Meanwhile, UC San Diego's study also states that an average user spends about 14 seconds for cracking one CAPTCHA, while the rate of error in doing so is 10%. Since one hour consists of 3600 seconds, a person cracking CAPTCHAs accomplishes 231 solutions in one hour, implying that the people at the end of the supply chain, cracking CAPTCHAs, get not even 25 cents/hour.

Interestingly, this supply process is notable for its sophistication. For, it was found that the majority of CAPTCHA-cracking tasks could be allotted to workers in far off places and the results got back in 20-secs on average. What's more, one CAPTCHA service's workers even succeeded in decoding the distorted texts in various languages like Vietnamese, Dutch, Greek, Korean and Arabic.

Meanwhile, the researchers, who carried out an intelligent assessment of the workers' geographical locations, found that they worked from China, Southeast Asia, India and Russia.

Finally, the study also found that spammers who executed the CAPTCHA-cracking scheme regularly compromised websites including those that Google, AOL, Microsoft etc. ran.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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