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The CAPTCHA Mashup of Hotness and JavaScript


"Using mashups to reach new heights (or new lows?) in security"

Thursday, July 13, 2006; 05:30 AM

Do you, by chance, remember the alternative CAPTCHA technique, that relied on cuteness? Now a new technique has been introduced that relies on hotness instead and, as an added bonus, the so-called HOTCAPTCHA is even hotter by way of being a trendy mashup. 

A traditional CAPTCHA.

In short, the HOTCAPTCHA technique retrieves images from the popular HotOrNot website, displays them in a 3-by-3 grid, and asks the visitor to select the three hot girls (a version with men is also available).  Identifying the pretty people grants you access.  HOTCAPTCHA is termed as a "mashup", because it uses the HotOrNot API library to draw data from an external source and uses it in a separate web application.  By using rankings from the HotOrNot website, the method uses the wisdom of crowds to dependably measure "hotness."

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.  It is a technique that distinguishes human visitors to a website from automated bots, usually when performing registration or authentication.  Most often CAPTCHA takes the form of a slightly distorted image containing numbers and/or characters, which a human is able to read and then insert in a dialog box, provided on the website.  That is a feat that malicious automated scripts are not (yet) capable of performing.

One of the first innovative approaches to human identification was the KittenAuth test, which displayed animals and asked the visitor to click on the kittens.

Aside from the HotOrNot API, HOTCAPTCHA uses JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).  The steps to implementing it on any website are described at http://hotcaptcha.com/.



Oh, the unbearable hotness!



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