CAPTCHaStar! A novel CAPTCHA based on interactive shape discovery


Over the last years, most websites on which users can register (e.g., email providers and social networks) adopted CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) as a countermeasure against automated attacks. The battle of wits between designers and attackers of CAPTCHAs led to current ones being annoying and hard to solve for users, while still being vulnerable to automated attacks. In this paper, we propose CAPTCHaStar, a new image-based CAPTCHA that relies on user interaction. This novel CAPTCHA leverages the innate human ability to recognize shapes in a confused environment. We assess the effectiveness of our proposal for the two key aspects for CAPTCHAs, i.e., usability, and resiliency to automated attacks. In particular, we evaluated the usability, carrying out a thorough user study, and we tested the resiliency of our proposal against several types of automated attacks: traditional ones; designed ad-hoc for our proposal; and based on machine learning. Compared to the state of the art, our proposal is more user friendly (e.g., only some 35% of the users prefer current solutions, such as text-based CAPTCHAs) and more resilient to automated attacks.

The 14th International Conference on Applied Cryptography and Network Security