Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

// // //
08:05 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb

Google's reCAPTCHA Version 3 Offers Better Bot-Fighting Capabilities

Google is rolling out the third version of reCAPTCHA software, which the company claims can better fight spam and bots with less user input.

reCAPTCHA is the security service hosted by Google that is designed to shield websites from spam and bot traffic. This week, the search giant has announced the latest update -- Version 3 -- that offers new ways of achieving that goal.

Version 3 runs adaptive risk analysis in the background to alert the webmaster of "suspicious" traffic. Google thinks that this new version will let human users enjoy a "frictionless" experience on the site.

Frictionless, as used in this context, means no direct user input is needed, which is a complete change from the previous versions.

What's introduced in the new version is a concept called "Action," which is a tag that can be used to define the key steps of the user journey. These tags will enable reCAPTCHA to run its risk analysis in context.

(Source: Wikipedia)
(Source: Wikipedia)

Since the tags can be placed on multiple pages of the site, reCAPTCHA's adaptive risk analysis engine can identify the pattern of attackers more accurately by looking at the activities that occur across different pages of the website.

In the reCAPTCHA admin console, the webmaster is shown a full overview of reCAPTCHA score distribution, as well as a breakdown for the stats of the Top 10 actions on the site. The console helps identify the pages that are the targets of bot activities.

Google also thinks that there are three potential ways the threat score can be best used:

  • The first is a threshold that determines when a user is to be let through or when further verification needs to be done would be one. Auxiliary methods, such as two-factor authentication and phone verification, could be invoked if the threat level exceeds that threshold.
  • Second, the score can be combined with private signals that reCAPTCHA cannot access. These can include user profiles or transaction histories that could add other data to the "go/no" decision process.
  • Third, the reCAPTCHA score can be incorporated as one of the signals used to train your website's machine learning model for focusing on stopping abuse.

Where the first version of reCAPTCHA that was shut down in March of this year only had one way to test for non-welcome traffic -- displaying skewed text that was resistant to being read by bots -- the latest version allows custom methods to be used.

Of course, Google puts the burden of coming up with those custom methods squarely onto the webmaster. But the new reCAPTCHA version can be invoked as many times as desired using different actions on the same page.

reCAPTCHA also has some implications for Google itself. By using it, the webmaster will provide them with insight into entire flow of a visit and transaction. Now, if the visitor is in Chrome, Google can get both sides of transaction. Remember that Google sign-in that Chrome just started to do?

The more cynical among us might see this new version as a data grab masquerading as a security product.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How Machine Learning, AI & Deep Learning Improve Cybersecurity
Machine intelligence is influencing all aspects of cybersecurity. Organizations are implementing AI-based security to analyze event data using ML models that identify attack patterns and increase automation. Before security teams can take advantage of AI and ML tools, they need to know what is possible. This report covers: -How to assess the vendor's AI/ML claims -Defining success criteria for AI/ML implementations -Challenges when implementing AI
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-28
An authorization bypass in b2evolution allows remote, unauthenticated attackers to predict password reset tokens for any user through the use of a bad randomness function. This allows the attacker to get valid sessions for arbitrary users, and optionally reset their password. Tested and confirmed in...
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-28
In ovs versions v0.90.0 through v2.5.0 are vulnerable to heap buffer over-read in flow.c. An unsafe comparison of “minimasks� function could lead access to an unmapped region of memory. This vulnerability is capable of crashing the software, memory modification...
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-28
The “Bytebaseâ€� application does not restrict low privilege user to access “admin issues“ for which an unauthorized user can view the “OPENâ€� and “CLOSEDâ€&...
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-28
The “Bytebase� application does not restrict low privilege user to access admin “projects“ for which an unauthorized user can view the “projects“ created by “Admin&ac...
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-28
Notepad++ versions 8.4.1 and before are vulnerable to DLL hijacking where an attacker can replace the vulnerable dll (UxTheme.dll) with his own dll and run arbitrary code in the context of Notepad++.