Captchas can become a headache for anyone on the internet who simply goes through the hassle of them not working, failing or even blocking access to any website because of "too many attempts".

What are CAPTCHAs?

Captchas are a type of online test and are specifically designed to protect you from the millions of bots that exist on the internet, they mean a test against bots in order to differentiate humans from computers or fake "artificial intelligences" that can't complete tasks that simply humans can.

Bots are getting better and better than us at solving captchas and there are no longer hundreds but thousands of captcha tests on the Internet to combat bots.

At first, these tests were developed so that any human could pass them and all computers would fail at this.

Code on a laptop screen

CAPTCHA tests came about when computers were not so good at reading, so the first CAPTCHA tests were simply distorted text with a few letters and numbers in front and it was easy for humans to decipher this, but not for bots and computers.

The test has changed over time and now the captcha is the most dominant form of test on the internet, this type of captcha digitizes text from old newspapers and books and places two words in front of you, the first word is generated by the computer and is the word that the computer knows is correct; the second is the digitized word and the computer just assumes it is correct, it checks it twice giving the same test to other people trying to enter the website, yet while people did their own captcha tests, the computers are still constantly learning the meaning of the distorted words.

Years ago, many people frustrated with captchas, used to use any other type of technology or "trick" that allowed them to skip or fill them, for this reason, captchas have evolved and have even become "images" that have to be selected depending on the context where you are asked to select either a:

  • A Bus
  • A dog
  • A car
  • A tree
  • A person
White robot human features

In fact, computers and bots learned to select and recognize CAPTCHA images over time and even became better than humans; based on this, there is now an invisible captcha.

How does this type of "invisible" Captcha work?

This type of invisible captcha is in charge of executing its function of testing if the user is human, the person is in the background of a website and when you move the mouse the computer knows it just like it knows how long it takes you to click on something; based on your mouse, the computer knows everything, just like it knows how long it takes you to click on something, if you pass the human test you will most likely have the best and easiest captcha, probably the one where you have to click on the captcha "I am not a robot".

Some bots can be so sophisticated that they can even look and act like humans surfing on the internet.

First of all, not all bots are bad or can be bad, search engines and antivirus use bots to analyze and collect data from the internet but some don't do anything good like spreading misinformation or manipulating your personal data.

Hacker binary attack code. Made with Canon 5d Mark III and analog vintage lens, Leica APO Macro Elmarit-R 2.8 100mm (Year: 1993)

If you think a social media account is a bot you can check their user profile, most of them don't have a profile picture and don't have anything written/shown in their bio, bots still can't mimic our way of speaking very well so if someone's answers are repetitive or sound like they are taken from a manual guide you are most likely talking to a bot. Very funny.

Scam and Phishing

Phishing is an online scam that is used to steal sensitive information usually from users, it will come to you in the form of emails; some phishing scams can be text or pop-up messages.

Don't EVER respond to any of them and never click on their links either, some may look very real but if in doubt, you can google the contacts of the company or service you think is trying to contact you.

Recommendation to avoid this type of scam

You can activate your mobile data in places with public wi-fi connection, you should also keep everything containing sensitive information and out of public wifi networks, use an antivirus and be sure of making a backup of your data in an online cloud or even on your phone; in case of a malicious virus from an unprotected web manages to enter your device, at least you will have recovered and backed up your important photos and documents.

Coding

Viruses are also a danger to our computers and devices, here's how you can tell if your devices may be infected:

  • Your cursor will start moving randomly on its own, clicking on programs or any link you don't want. These are clear signs that your computer is being remotely controlled; you can try to get rid of the virus with the help of an antivirus or even an anti-malware, but if you can't, you will most likely have to do a complete reboot of everything on your computer in order to be protected.
  • Pop-up pages may appear when you browse the web but if they appear even with the browser closed it is a warning sign, close them instantly and never click on any link.
  • Another reason for a virus is if new programs start appearing out of nowhere even though you have never installed them, you can check what they are doing with the help of Microsoft's Process Explorer.
work flow
  • Another example of virus is if you have many spam emails but now you are the one sending them without realizing it?; This could be a sign that your sensitive information has been compromised and also your passwords, therefore, it is possible that your accounts might be completely blocked, you can think of a way to recover them, in case this happens check your account statements often, if you notice any suspicious or fraudulent transaction that you have not authorized, talk immediately to your bank to see what is going on, a cybercriminal could be behind all of this.