Are You Human?

Someone has noticed our really super simple captcha on the sign up form. I’m feeling chatty today, so let’s talk about it.

I guess you could say our philosophy here at PassPack is:
Build it bare bones, put it out there, and see if it grows.

This is how PassPack itself grew (anyone remember this?). Even auto-login was released, then evolved into 1 Click Login. Now our itty-bitty Are You Human? captcha may have it’s turn.

Are You Human?

Right now the captcha is very simple and works because no spam bot has actually taken the time to learn it. Are You Human? isn’t widespread, actually it’s only used by PassPack itself, and bypassing it would simply give bots access a multi-screen sign up process which, in itself, would be hard to parse (think: password quality meter on 2 of the 3 screens).

No one would program a spam bot for such a complex process where the end result can’t even be used to post spam links.

So why do we even have it?

Well, it does save us a drop of bandwidth since bots aren’t blindly hitting the sign in screen, attempting to fill it out and submitting it. But there’s another surprise bonus:

New PassPack users used to write to us fairly often, asking about the mysterious squares on the Anti-phishing Welcome Message screen. Since there was no similar mechanism during sign up, they were confused by it the first time they signed in to their new account. This stopped ever since we’ve added the Are You Human? screen.

While it’s rather fascinating that Are You Human? is currently more helpful to humans, than it is harmful to spam bots… honestly… we still think it’s a nifty concept, and we’d like to see it grow.

The idea is to release Are You Human? as an open source library and work with the community to reinforce it. In our mind’s eye, it’ll take the form of simple games, or puzzles that cooperate with the server to customize instances and validate responses (right now it does none of this).

As some of you may know, PassPack is preparing a Developers Center. Like everything else, it’ll be simple at first – perhaps no more than a dedicated blog or forum – but it’ll grow.

So if you’re interested in participating in the development of Are You Human? or any other PassPack library – let us know. The more interest you show, the more we’ll be motivated to get the ball rolling. Also let us know what your preferred platform is if you have one.

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