Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to cheat CAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA, a product of Google, is a freely distributed spam-fighting program designed to trick bots. It is becoming increasingly more popular on the web, and while reducing spam is certainly great, reCAPTCHA's prevalence has also led to it becoming slightly annoying.

Well, today I'm going to share a small, but helpful tip, that if used, will hopefully save you a bit of time as you continue to traverse the web: You only have to enter one of the two words. The second word is completely unknown to reCAPTCHA and it will accept any valid character instead (for instance "a").

The false word is quickly discernible to the trained eye, as there are a plenty of common identifiers, which I am going to teach you now.

Let us begin!

First, know this: The known, required words are always formatted identically; take a moment to familiarize yourself with their appearance:

These 'true' words (though they are not actually words at all!) all share the same font, size, and are always more or less vertically centered on the CAPTCHA screen. As you can see above, the only ways that they vary are that the first letter is sometimes capitalized, the number of letters range between 6 and 8, and they can appear on either the left side or the right side of the screen.

Now, I will show you the many attributes that guarantee a fake.

These highlighted items do not need to be entered:

Any items containing numbers, including roman numerals:

Any names or words, whether in English or any other language:

Words that feature any punctuation, or accents:

As well as any variation from the standard format of the 'true' words (as seen above), including words that are...

Unusually big, or small:

Remarkably low, or high:

 Or any words of a different font!

Now you should know everything you need in order to identify the fake words, and with some practice, you'll be whipping through those CAPTCHAs in nearly half the time, all while smugly smiling to yourself in the knowledge that you've beat the system!

However, before you run off, there is something you should know. The reason one of the words is unknown to CAPTCHA is because the 'fake' words have been scanned, and Google is actually using your input in an effort to improve Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems.

That is why you'll occasionally get some really wacky results!

This is described in further detail at Google's CAPTCHA website, and according to them, it is for a good purpose:

"About 200 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that's not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into "reading" books.

To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age.

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher"

So, if you'd like help in this goodwill work aggregation project by continuing to type both words, well then more power to you! But personally, I don't agree with having volunteer work forced upon me, and would rather get through these pesky verification programs as swiftly as humanly possible (pun intended)!

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helped!


  1. This is so cool, isn't it?
    When I first showed this to my gf, she didn't believe me. And then, her mind was blown.
    And the reC, it's everywhere nowadays, right? I download lots of stuff (movies, music, etc.) and I have to enter the reC, like, hundred times a day. So it's nice to fuck them over by knowing this. :)
    Nice blog; following! :)

  2. Sometimes I don't know what's the true word and what's the fake, so I just write them both, but when I see the fake I write anything

  3. I noticed something wrong with the captcha, i mean somethimes I would make a mistake and it said it was correct.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Cool !!!!! I won a lot of time, a big thank you !!!!!

  5. What about something like this?Can you have two real/fake words in a reCAPTCHA.

    Link to the print:

  6. CAPTCHA is NOT a Google product. So if you want people to take this seriously don't start it off with such a glaring error. reCAPTCHA is but not CAPTCHA. Fix your opening sentence.

    1. Fixed! Thanks for pointing that out.

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