[extropy-chat-test] Intelligent Spammers (was FW: [>Htech] Stealing Cycles from Human s (fwd from kra at monkey.org))

Emlyn O'regan oregan.emlyn at healthsolve.com.au
Mon Oct 20 08:56:10 UTC 2003

Eugene posted this to Transhumantech today. The article is interesting, but
the last paragraph below really show how intelligent spammers can be - it's
lateral thinking at its best. Don't think that any simple technique is going
to finish them for good!


> From: Karl Anderson <kra at monkey.org>
> Date: 20 Oct 2003 00:23:32 -0700
> To: fork at xent.com
> Subject: Stealing Cycles from Humans
> Organization: Ape Mgt.
> User-Agent: Gnus/5.0802 (Gnus v5.8.2) Emacs/20.7
> http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03278/228349.stm
> "The players may not realize it, but the lists of descriptive 
> words that they're generating could eventually be used by 
> search engines such as Google to improve Internet searches for images.
> They also are doing something that no computer program has 
> ever managed to accomplish: analyzing an image and accurately 
> describing it in words.
> In effect, what von Ahn is creating with his game is a giant, 
> special-purpose supercomputer that uses human brains to do 
> the computing. And the 24-year-old von Ahn, a graduate 
> student in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, 
> says this approach, which he calls "Stealing Cycles from 
> Humans," could be applied to a wide variety of problems that 
> are too great for any individual but also beyond the 
> capabilities of conventional computers."
> "The CAPTCHA tests are simple for humans to pass, but hard 
> for computers. A typical test features a word with fuzzy or 
> distorted letters, or words overlapping each other, or a word 
> superimposed on a complex background; visitors to the site 
> are asked to type a word they see. Yahoo began using the 
> CAPTCHAs on its Web registration form several years ago; 
> other Web sites quickly copied the idea.
> But at least one potential spammer managed to crack the 
> CAPTCHA test. Someone designed a software robot that would 
> fill out a registration form and, when confronted with a 
> CAPTCHA test, would post it on a free porn site. Visitors to 
> the porn site would be asked to complete the test before they 
> could view more pornography, and the software robot would use 
> their answer to complete the e-mail registration."
> -- 
> Karl Anderson      kra at monkey.org           http://monkey.org/~kra/
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