Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Game is On

This week a group of hackers were able to break Google's Captcha security measure, and back in January they cracked Yahoo's.

For those of you who don't know what Captcha is, it's those impossible to read, fuzzy, jumbled letters and numbers that you have to enter as extra security. The significance of this? Now spammers can automatically sign up for email accounts to spam you with.

CAPTCHA is an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart". It was developed to do just that, distinguish between computers and humans based on the fact that we as humans have enough intelligence to figure out what those letters and numbers in the image are, and repeat them.

So my first reaction? Great, more spam. But after thinking about it, I believe this battle between network security and hackers will eventually spawn AI (Artificial Intelligence). As security relies more and more on logic and human intelligence to distinguish between bots and humans, hackers will continue to increase their bots' ability to mimic human intelligence. This 'One-Upping' will eventually lead to the spawning of computer AI and the end of the world! Ok, so maybe the apocalypse is a bit much (I've watched too many Terminator movies). But with greed as the primary motivation, I think hackers are capable of quite a bit.

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