Google Maps algorithm excels at breaking CAPTCHAs

Posted on Friday, Apr 18 2014 @ 10:05 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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The Inquirer reports Google cracked its own CAPTCHA technology while developing a technology to read street numbers in the company's Street View imagery. The algorithm is intended to help locate addresses more accurately and Google claims it can read difficult numbers in Street View with 90 percent accuracy. The side effect is that the same algorithm can crack the hardest CAPTCHAs with over 99 percent accuracy.
"In this paper, we show that this system is able to accurately detect and read difficult numbers in Street View with 90 percent accuracy," Shet added.

Google found that the algorithm can also be used to read CAPTCHA puzzles and it can decipher the hardest distorted text puzzles from reCAPTCHA with over 99 percent accuracy.

"Thanks to this research, we know that relying on distorted text alone isn't enough. However, it's important to note that simply identifying the text in CAPTCHA puzzles correctly doesn't mean that reCAPTCHA itself is broken or ineffective. On the contrary, these findings have helped us build additional safeguards against bad actors in reCAPTCHA."

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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