[bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet

  • From: "Darrell Shandrow" <nu7i@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 21:09:21 -0700

Hi Brent,

I think failing to fix this would ultimately be good material for a lawsuite, 
not to mention severely negative public relations resulting from accusations of 
locking blind people out of their money.

Darrell Shandrow - Shandrow Communications!
Technology consultant/instructor, network/systems administrator!
A+, CSSA, Network+!
Visit http://www.petitiononline.com/captcha and sign the Google Word 
Verification Accessibility Petition today!
Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by another 
person.
Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brent Harding 
  To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 8:15 PM
  Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet


  Oh, think that's what it is. I wonder, if they ultimately say they can't do 
much about the issue, if the ADA has any play in this since it completely 
prevents the blind's access? If I were them, I'd find the audio solution a lot 
less costly than having to hire a company to Braille up statements. I am 
probably the only blind customer there anyways, but if their vendor fixes it 
could impact others that bank at places that use this system, hosting service, 
or whoever they go through.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Darrell Shandrow 
    To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 9:02 PM
    Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet


    Hi Brent,

    Nothing is perfect, audio usually includes a bit of distortion to prevent 
speech recognition, some visual CAPTCHAs are broken already and, well, 
accessibility needs must ultimately be considered if we are to survive in a 
technology driven world.  I believe the credit union form of the FDIC is called 
the NCUA?





    Darrell Shandrow - Shandrow Communications!
    Technology consultant/instructor, network/systems administrator!
    A+, CSSA, Network+!
    Visit http://www.petitiononline.com/captcha and sign the Google Word 
Verification Accessibility Petition today!
    Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by 
another person.
    Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com
      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Brent Harding 
      To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
      Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 7:59 PM
      Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet


      I haven't contacted the federal reserve or anything. I'm not sure who you 
contact for credit unions. I have contacted people their a couple weeks ago. 
They said they were going to have someone call me after they contacted their 
online vender to see what they may be able to do about it, but I haven't 
received a call back. I think I'll call them again to see what they found out. 
At least it sounds like they hopefully want to do something as the person I 
spoke with understands the issue that I use speech output that is unable to 
read the code. Their issue, according to what they say, is getting their vender 
to do something, whether it be a fixed code that I enter or if they can put 
audio in. I know godaddy's argument against audio that speech recognition can 
be trained to defeat it, but what they probably could do is switch to a 
username and longer password. I see that 7-digit account numbers and 4-digit 
pins are badly hackable without captcha, but it integrates with their phone 
system.

        ----- Original Message ----- 
        From: Darrell Shandrow 
        To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
        Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 8:07 PM
        Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet


        Hi Brent,

        Have you contacted someone at your bank and let them know that this 
means you are denied participation in online banking?  Not sure just changing 
to another bank, which might soon just do the same thing, is the way to handle 
it.  Doesn't FDIC, FTC, Federal Reserve or anyone like that have anything to 
say about this?

        Darrell Shandrow - Shandrow Communications!
        Technology consultant/instructor, network/systems administrator!
        A+, CSSA, Network+!
        Visit http://www.petitiononline.com/captcha and sign the Google Word 
Verification Accessibility Petition today!
        Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by 
another person.
        Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com
          ----- Original Message ----- 
          From: Brent Harding 
          To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
          Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 7:03 PM
          Subject: [bct] Re: Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet


          Yeah, it is really getting ridiculous. I'm going to have to get my 
money out of one of my bank accounts and find a credit card elsewhere some how. 
I just wonder who would give me one, had an advantage at the credit union of 
having money in the savings account. I'm just trying to find who to transfer it 
away to, since their captcha is on every login attempt and I heard this is 
becoming a banking trend.

            ----- Original Message ----- 
            From: Ray Foret Jr. 
            To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
            Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 6:04 PM
            Subject: [bct] Fw: CAPTCHA the Internet



            ----- Original Message ----- 
            From: Barb O'connor 
            To: broconnor1972@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
            Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 2:25 PM
            Subject: CAPTCHA the Internet


            I thought you might find this interesting.

            Barb

            Tag-strategia.com (Blog)
            Tuesday, February 21, 2006

            CAPTCHA the Internet

            CAPTCHA (an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to 
tell
            Computers and Humans Apart") has been on my mind ever since Phil 
Windley
            suggested a graphical CAPTCHA would make a good web service. I 
thought there
            might be those willing to pay to use it. Well, it's been done.

            There is a need for this type of test. Yahoo! and Hotmail use a 
CAPTCHA to
            stave off spammers when a user requests an email account. I suspect 
the most
            common use is on other sites is an attempt block automated comment 
spam in
            blogs.

            CAPTCHA excludes legitimate users

            As the W3C points out graphical CAPTCHAs are a significant barrier 
to
            low-vision and blind users. Those with learning disabilities, such 
as
            dyslexia, may also be adversely affected. As visual CAPTCHAs become 
more
            sophisticated, busy, patterned background becomes more of an issue 
for
            color-blind users.

            The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 1997 about 7.7 million 
Americans
            had difficulty seeing the words and letters in an ordinary 
newspaper. The
            American Foundation for the blind reported about 5 in 1,000 
Americans are
            legally blind, and gives a low estimate of 1.5 million visually 
impaired
            computer users. That's a fairly significant potential market to 
ignore.

            Requiring users to interpret a visual CAPTCHA may lead to legal 
challenges.
            Earlier this month, the National Federation for the Blind filed 
suit against
            Target, claiming target.com discriminates by not being accessible to
            visually impaired users.

            Audio CAPTCHA

            Some companies are experimenting with audio CAPTCHAs, spelling out 
random
            letters with random noise in the background. However, aural 
disabilities are
            more common than visual ones, so the approach isn't really more 
accessible.
            Speech recognition software is more advanced than character 
recognition, so
            the purported purpose of differentiating between humans and 
computers is not
            filled anyway.

            CAPTCHA is broken

            Several projects to crack common visual CAPTCHA algorithms, 
particularly The
            CAPTCHA Project (by the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer 
Science), the UC
            Berkeley Computer Vision Group, and Sam Hocevar's PWNtcha, have had 
good
            success. Howard Yeend demonstrated a vulnerability in several public
            algorithms where he could reuse a solution several thousand times 
after
            manually solving it once.

            Social engineering is often easier than fancy programming. The 
first widely
            recognized social engineering solution was "borrowing" CAPTCHAs 
from target
            sites and showing them at entry points to porn sites. Visitors to 
porn sites
            would solve the CAPTCHAs, allowing spammers to get essentially free 
labor.
            Amazon's Mechanical Turk (tagline: "Artificial Artificial 
Intelligence"),
            which gives micro-payments for simple tasks is an example of 
another way
            CAPTCHAs could be defeated. Even at a few cents per image, the cost 
may
            still be too high for spammers, but it is a demonstration that the 
process
            can be outsourced. After all, the world is flat.

            What is the underlying purpose?

            The real reason for CAPTCHA is to screen undesirables. For low 
traffic
            sites, it means preventing automated access. This can be 
accomplished in a
            relatively simple way: add a single required question to the 
comment submit
            form. Something like "What color was George Washington's white 
horse?" or
            "Enter the fourth word in this sentence." This is enough to make 
the form
            non-standard, thus unusable by generic bots. Bypassing this added 
security
            would be very easy for spammers, the advantage is the relative 
obscurity of
            most blogs. To target multiple blogs, a spammer would need to 
address each
            one individually; individual attention is unlikely, so I suggest 
this method
            is the easiest for bloggers with a knowledge of web programming, 
and is as
            accessible as a comment form without a CAPTCHA.

            Major sites like Yahoo! and Google have a bigger problem. After 
all, they
            are targets both because of the value of their services, and their 
size.
            When it first launched Gmail, Google limited accounts to those who 
had been
            invited by other active users. Initially there was a good bit of 
commotion
            in the tech community as gmail.com addresses became a sign of 
prestige. The
            invitation system allows Google to track which users may be abusing 
the
            service, and which users invited the abusers. Google has gone a step
            further, and now allows potential users to have an invitation code 
sent to
            their mobile phones. The number of accounts requested per phone 
number can
            be tracked. The potential gain from a limited handful of throw-away 
email
            accounts, and the cost of mobile phones (even disposable ones) is 
enough to
            deter spammers, because less troublesome alternatives exist.

            If you look at Google's account request page, you'll see a CAPTCHA 
there.
            Google responsibly offers a way for users with disabilities to 
bypass the
            CAPTCHA, although it involves human-to-human interaction (and quite 
a bit
            more time) to complete-a costly alternative.

            Real solutions

            Several solutions to the problems with CAPTCHA have been proposed 
and
            debated. Most have major cost or accessibility problems.

            It would seem the only good solution is some sort of federated 
identity
            system, which is really just offloading the trouble of user 
validation to
            someone else.

            http://tag-strategia.com/blog/archives/2006/02/captcha-the-internet/


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