Some spammers are claiming to have cracked Gmail’s captchas–the mix of letters and numbers that only humans are supposed to recognize. If true, email spammers could create thousands of Gmail accounts and use them to send those annoying Viagra and “enlargement” offers.
Not so fast, says Google!
Brad Taylor, a Google software engineer known informally as the company’s spam czar, says that internal evidence shows that the rise in spam originating from Gmail accounts stems not from captcha-busting programs. Instead, he said, spammers are using the old-fashioned “mechanical turk” trick—an operation where low-paid laborers in third-world countries are enlisted to solve the puzzles, one by one.
“You can see it is clearly done by humans,” Mr. Taylor said. “There are patterns in the rate we find bogus accounts, like at night time and when people get off work,” in certain parts of the world.
I’m leaning towards believing Taylor on this one. I have a hard enough time getting captcha letters correct, so I doubt spammers have created software that does any better.
More likely, spammers are provide free porn, in exchange for humans helping them crack the captchas.