CAPTCHA Farms

There’s a fascinating post in the Zero Day blog on India’s CAPTCHA solving companies.  The level of ingenuity in spam and web marketing abuse has always been high, so I am not really surprised by the article.  However, the scale is a bit staggering.  One company mentioned in the article claims:

Our captcha system is very complex and complicated. It is built to process up to one million captchas per day. We
have several big teams and hundreds of active agents solving captchas,
all at one time, especially during daytime in India. The backend of
this project involves over 45 powerful, expensive servers communicating
with the MySpace site to pull the captchas and then queue them up on
this site, and then process the results to push back to MySpace all
within 20 seconds per captcha.

I can’t really get as mad at this, as I probably should.  It’s developments like this that push the creativity of technologists to come up with models that are more difficult to cheat.  The malicious and scheming are agents of necessity that is the mother of all invention.

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