A team of computer scientists have developed AI technology that can trick the Captcha website security check service.
For those that don’t know what Captcha is, it’s that annoying challenge that you have to complete to prove you are human. Usually you have to note down letters and numbers from a grainy image which a machine would struggle to complete correctly.
Captcha, which stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” was developed back in the 90’s to prevent automated bots from setting up fake accounts on websites.
Vicarious AI Firm
That is until now… Research conducted by Vicarious – a US-based intelligence firm funded by Facebook and Amazon – have developed an algorithm that can copy how a human brain responds to these visual clues.
To get machines to recognise Captcha images, computer scientists at the Californian firm developed a system called ‘Recursive Cortical Network (RCN)’ which mimics the actual processes in the human brain which requires less computing power than neural networks.
The human brain has the ability to denote objects, even if they are hidden partially by other objects simply by recognising textures and shapes. Vicarious have been developing various applications for RCN that aim to identify objects by analysing just the pixels.
Vicarious software can not only crack Captcha but can now solve reCaptcha tests which Google claim is so complicated that even humans can only solve it 87% of the time.
Cyber-security architect for Trend Micro Europe told the BBC: “We’re not seeing attacks on Captcha at the moment, but within three or four months, whatever the researchers have developed will become mainstream, so Captcha’s days are numbered. The very nature of big data analysis and machine learning is that if you give it enough data to play with, it will eventually work out most things.”