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Hotmail, Yahoo! erect roadblocks for spam sign-ons

The Register – 27/12/2002 at 15:04 GMT


Spam fighters have come up with an idea to frustrate the automatic creation of email accounts often used to send spam.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have designed software which acts as a gatekeeper, blocking computerised creation of accounts with Web mail services.

The idea is to use a form of Turing Test to distinguish humans for Web robots, called captchas (completely automated public Turing tests to tell computers and humans apart).

Well its about stinking time. Though I do have to snicker a bit when I read that “West Bloomfield bulk e-mailer Alan Ralsky, who just may be the world’s biggest sender of Internet spam, is getting a taste of his own medicine.” – Freep Tech

As I said in a comment on the Redwood Dragon blog where I found this article “I love a story with a happy ending … sniff …

One Comment

  1. I have to admit that those “captchas” are a clever idea; I’ve seen them on a number of sites lately.

    But there’s one problem with the current implementation that the Register article fails to mention: this particular Turing test requires the ability to see images. Users of text-only browsers– including the blind– aren’t going to have much luck signing up for these sites.

    Paypal has a slightly better idea with its test: you can either see the series of characters in question as a distorted image *or* hear it as a slightly distorted sound file.