If you’ve been using the Internet at any time in the past 15 years, there’s a good chance you’ve completed a CAPTCHA.

Why do they exist?

Unfortunately, not every person on the Internet has good intentions. People can use software to sign up accounts to websites, then use these accounts to perform malicious acts on the website. What these acts are depends on the website. Forums and online communities get filled with inane comments and “spam”, with links to viruses, scams and other dodgy areas of the internet. Comment sections on news website get filled with the same thing. By placing a CAPTCHA in front of these areas, it acts as a gate to prevent automated harassment. No dishonest or malicious people would mean no need for CAPTCHAs.

Why are they so difficult?

The idea behind the CAPTCHA was initially sound. Create images that only humans could solve by utilizing the advanced recognition ability of the human brain. Computers couldn’t solve it – yet. Time went on and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software got better, bots started breaking through, which meant the CAPTCHAs needed to get harder. See where this is going? This method of CAPTCHA means that the harder they make it for bots, the harder it gets for human.

Bad for business

In a previous blog post, we explained where traditional CAPTCHAs came from, how they’ve developed and that they’re solved over 300,000,000 times a day. While they are necessary, traditional text/image based CAPTCHAS (like the image above) have become so distorted that solving them has become annoying – and an annoying task completed so many times each day can lead to frustrated users.  What was supposed to have stopped bad people has ended up just stopping people entirely. The industry average solve rate of a traditional CAPTCHA is just 75%, which means 1/4 of potential users are leaving out of frustration. That’s simply bad for business.

How can you fix it?

It’s simple – download FunCaptcha. Our innovative approach to CAPTCHA security ensures bots won’t break through, your users won’t be frustrated and your website won’t have ugly, distorted letters ruining the experience.

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adtech x fc

ad:tech San Francisco is right around the corner, and FunCaptcha will be there!

ad:tech, as they say themselves, “is a conference and exhibition where the marketing, technology and media communities come together to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to address the key industry challenges and opportunities.”

We’re looking forward to hearing some great speakers talk about how online ad technology is improving and evolving. And of course – enjoying the networking functions in the great city of San Francisco!

Our calendar is filling quickly but please get in touch if you’d like to meet up, we’ll be in town all week.

CEO, Kevin Gosschalk

Co-Founder & CEO, Kevin Gosschalk, live at the Brisbane AWS Group.

Last night, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Brisbane AWS Group in partnership with our excellent AWS support company, ITOC.

I spoke about a few of the core values behind why we chose Amazon Web Services and how we utilize it to create a system that is highly available, responsive and capable of handling network and system failures at very high scale. AWS excels at empowering companies to focus on the thing they do best — code their app, even when it comes to massive scale.

Excerpts taken directly from the presentation.

For a product like FunCaptcha, a key security asset for so many companies, we simply cannot have downtime. AWS provides a large range of products like Route53 and ELB to ensure the service is always functional, even if an entire region such as Singapore were to go down. We work directly with Amazon to ensure our system is using the world’s leading practices and their latest and best tools for the job.

Through a solid working foundation via ITOC and Amazon, I’m confident in FunCaptcha‘s ability to scale up and maintain the high level of quality we strive for across all facets of our product.

Thanks for reading,
Kevin Gosschalk
Co-Founder & CEO

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comScore recently released a report exploring the issue of “NHT” aka “Non-Human Traffic”. It outlines the wide ranging negative effects of bot fuelled traffic on many parties involved in online advertising. Media buyers, sellers, agencies, web hosts and big brands – any business that utilizes online advertising has, at one time or another, been affected by “Non-Human Traffic”. The overall concept is simple: NHT is a detriment to online businesses as it “contaminates” metrics, giving an inaccurate representation of how a digital asset is performing. What has this got to do with FunCaptcha?

Well, everything. Our purpose is to block automated systems from accessing web domains and contaminating them; and the processes by which an automated system can contaminate a website varies greatly.

  • It can riddle forums and inboxes with spam.
  • It can open a domain to web-scraping.
  • It can falsely inflate a website’s traffic, skewing budgets for various projects, causing irreparable damage to an owner’s ability to manage their page effectively.

The potential for damage is great, so websites need a CAPTCHA that is effective at preventing NHT, which is where we step in. We provide the shield necessary to fight against NHT while welcoming real human users across the line.

Our priority is ensuring clean, measurable traffic for our clients, as it is an essential component in ensuring ongoing strength for a website.

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On your website, you want to make things smooth for your users. When your users encounter FunCaptcha on your site, you can make it a seamless experience. We give you the tools to dive in and customize FunCaptcha on your site with our new admin dashboard, explained in this video. This dashboard is the nexus for all things FunCaptcha, for all your domains.

You can alter various options on the fly with your dashboard:

  • Pick any color for each element
  • Turn features on or off that tweak the security level and earning potential
  • Pick which activities you want your users to play with

The dashboard will help you make FunCaptcha look right, optimize its security level, and maximize your earnings, with many more features coming soon. Go to your dashboard to check it out!

Brian Rexroad is the Executive Director of Technology Security at AT&T. He leads a series of informative video discussions called ThreatTraq on AT&T’s Tech Channel.

It was great to see ThreatTraq recently talk about FunCaptcha with technology security analyst Matt Keyser and special guest Brian Foster, CTO with security company, Damballa.

Take a look at the segment for yourself!

We’re ecstatic that FunCaptcha is being appreciated by the online security community, and that these tech gurus appreciate the effectiveness of our unique approach to authenticating human users.

It demonstrates that innovative leaders understand that other CAPTCHAs currently in use are disliked by many users and are simply not effective as a security solution.

Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to share our thoughts with ThreatTraq on some of the points raised; such as the issues with biometric scanning possibly replacing CAPTCHAs and how we envisage human authentication evolving.

In other news, Security Asia is also reporting our bot stopping exploits. Click through for a piece published yesterday that highlights FunCaptcha’s success as a security solution.

Matthew Ford
Design Director & COO
FunCaptcha.com

“Our team tested a number of spam filtering services, including reCAPTCHA, and found that none could stop the tide of bots—until we discovered FunCaptcha.”

—John Pålsson, XtremeTop100.com

Roll

Situation

XtremeTop100.com is a global community dedicated to aggregating and promoting online gaming servers. The website, which generates more than 600,000 page views each day, is driven by user votes to rank private servers across a variety of consoles and categories.

Over the course of months, site creator John Pålsson took notice of a troubling pattern: overnight, certain servers were mysteriously flying up the rankings. With some quick research, it became clear that some server owners were paying their way to the top through fraudulent, bot-based voting.

“The quality of our service depends on real votes, by real people. Unfortunately, we discovered that bots were abusing our site, to the tune of tens of thousands of attacks getting through our system each day,” said John.

Solution

The XtremeTop100 team set out to find a more reliable solution to safeguard its site than offered by traditional CAPTCHAs. While they found temporary relief from a well-known CAPTCHA alternative, hackers quickly identified and exploited vulnerabilities in this program as well. Finally, the XtremeTop100 team turned to FunCaptcha for support.

Results

Deployed in February 2015, FunCaptcha’s unique approach to web security has delivered exceptional protection for XtremeTop100. With a few simple clicks, Pålsson put an end to the bot-based pay-per-vote business model undermining his site, and has sustained a 100-percent drop in bot activity. Despite the gripes—and attempted bribes—from would-be fraudsters, FunCaptcha has effectively returned XtremeTop100 to the meritocracy it was designed to be.

“The immediate results of incorporating FunCaptcha were staggering, and we’ve seen the program hold up against a number of new attacks by determined hackers,” continued Pålsson. “Today, we can confidently reward the servers players love most, rather than those who fork over the most cash to exploit the system through bot-based votes.”

Bidding

 MORE VARIETY, BY DEFAULT

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New default themes that fit into more sites with a sophisticated and seamless look.

Aesthetic appeal is crucial to us here at FunCaptcha, so it was with that in mind that we gave our default themes an upgrade. We take all feedback we get very seriously and many of our users felt it was time for our default themes a makeover to bring them more up-to-date – so that’s exactly what we did!

EASIER CUSTOM THEMING = BETTER EXPERIENCES

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More options available to administrators for easier custom theming, including a choice of graphics and games.

One of our main motivations here at FunCaptcha is to allow our clients the ability to express their own unique identity as well as catering to their users in as many ways as they can. This was the key factor in deciding to provide more options for custom themes and even more excitingly, even allowing our clients to choose which game their users saw when completing FunCaptcha.

UPGRADED IMAGERY FOR SMOOTHER COMPLETION


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We will be upgrading all the images of faces and animals, improving the FunCaptcha experience for users.

We brought in premier graphic artist talent to give our 3D facial construction processes only the best treatment. We’re very excited with what’s being produced so far and we’re sure our clients (and their users) will be too.

 

The overall motivation behind these visual upgrades is simple: visual clarity is the most crucial element in the success of a CAPTCHA. Simply put, if a person cannot easily and intuitively complete the “Turing test”, by definition, the test is useless.

So while our use of mini-games is indeed innovative and fresh, we felt the time had come to update our aesthetic to mirror that. It not only streamlines the process for humans, but also allows our clients the freedom to alter and customize their packages without having to compromise the integrity of their security.

You earn stars as you complete FunCaptchas anywhere on the web. The faster you complete the CAPTCHA challenge, the more stars you get. Getting 5 stars means you play the games as well as we, the creators, do – and we have lots of practice!

For now, we are experimenting with the star system, so to be honest, don’t pay too much attention to your star count yet. The long-term plan is that your star count will increase each time you play anywhere on the web. Once you reach enough stars, you will get special rewards.

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Interested in FunCaptcha for your domain(s)? Head to our demo page.