First appearing in 1997, the CAPTCHA test has been around since the early days of the internet. Passing the “Are You a Robot” test plays a crucial role in reducing spam, bots, and cyber attacks. It slowly gained popularity. Eventually, it became one of the most well-known cybersecurity tests. However, proving that you are a human by entering a CAPTCHA code is often a cumbersome process.
Unfortunately, passing this test isn’t always a user-friendly process. For example, it can be problematic if you enter the wrong letter or forget to click on each square with a traffic light. Cloudflare is looking at ways to expedite this entire process and eliminate the need for entering a CAPTCHA code.
The primary goal of Cloudflare is to expedite the checkout process on e-commerce sites. Using a CAPTCHA test is an inconvenient way to distinguish users from bots. Eliminating “I am not a robot” tests can significantly improve the user experience and create a much easier checkout process.
Other Ways to Identify Users and Eliminate Robot Users
Yubikey is one of the leading hardware authentication devices proposed as a solution by Cloudfare. It is designed to eliminate the need for CAPTCHA tests. One disadvantage of Yubikey is that the hardware keys aren’t entirely accesible for most people. For example, the USB key from Yubikey is an object you put into a computer to unlock access to specific websites. These keys may include minimal user identification data to a website. But, Yubikey claims that no information ever changes hands.
How Cloudflare Plans to Use Smartphones
Cloudflare recently announced another way to eliminate a CAPTCHA test. It involves using the tools built into smartphones and computers. The idea is fairly straightforward. Real humans should be able to use their devices to prove their identity without going through additional steps or revealing personal information. These trusted USB keys have been around for a while. Though, more phones and computers are becoming equipped with this feature by default.
Instead of wasting time trying to obscure bicycles in a CAPTCHA test, users can access websites without going through these obstacles. Cloudflare says that passing CAPTCHA tests may require specific cultural knowledge. For instance, most people in the world have never seen a fire hydrant in the United States. Cabs are yellow in New York City. They are black in the city of London. These minor cultural variations can make a huge difference in trying to pass a CAPTCHA test.
Cost of Devices and Smartphones
When considering drawbacks, Cloudflare notes that money can be an issue. These keys and smartphones can be investements that cost real money. The price for Yubikey starts at $55. It can reach up to $70 for higher-end versions. Even open-source versions will cost around $40. On the other hand, an Android or iPhone device will often cost hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. While not everyone can recognize a fire hydrant, even more people are unable to afford these devices.
How Does Yubikey Increase Security and Reduce Robot Accounts?
The USB-C Yubikey doesn’t require any software installation. You plug it in the USB port. All you have to do is tap the device for authentication. This is much easier than trying to find crosswalks in several blurry photos. However, the biggest challenge of the USB-C Yubikey is making sure that everyone has access to these devices.
Why Should Businesses Care About CAPTCHA?
Businesses experience a handful of benefits from CAPTCHA tests. For example, it can reduce the creation of robot accounts and increase online security. This is important as a business does not want to spend time differentiating between spam and authentic accounts or messages. While CAPTCHA may seem like a tool with good intentions, it has the potential to be harmful to your business. It can make it more difficult for customers to engage with your website or make purchases. This is why it’s important for businesses to understand CAPTCHA as well as other options for cybersecurity.
This product is a step towards making online security processes more user-friendly and eliminating robot users. Although Cloudflare discussed Yubikey and smartphone security tools, there are still a few questions left pertaining to the future of these tools. For example, how is it going to be improved and maintained overtime? How is security ensured as technology continues to advance? How is it going to be updated as cybersecurity becomes more prevalent? This tool is innovative, as a replacement to the “Are You a Robot” tests. But, questions still remain about the future outlook of Yubikey.
Only time will tell if the CAPTCHA test will continue to be widely used or if new devices will take the place of this nearly 25-year-old challenge-response test.