Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Solving Captchas With MIT’s $100 Computer?

Posted in Blogging, Spam by Elliott Back on November 25th, 2006.

Charles Arthur has written a somewhat ridiculous concept article at the Guardian UK, The price of humans who’ll spam blogs is falling to zero. It’s full of completely wrong statements, like:

If the captcha was filled in, it must have been done by a person; if it had been done by a machine, the spammers would have cracked the problem of solving captchas and would be busily spamming every blog they could find.

Actually, cracking captchas has been done reliably and cheaply. I would be comfortable saying that it’s a solved field that a script-kiddy could learn enough about online to write his own captcha-breaking spam bot.

The point of his article revolves around the idea that supplying computers to impoverished nations will result in large-arrays of manual spammers:

Elsewhere this week, deliveries began of the hand-powered laptop, Nicholas Negroponte’s computing gift to the developing world. I’ve no doubt it will radically alter the life of many in the developing world for the better. I also expect that once a few have got into the hands of people aching to make a dollar, with time on their hands and an internet connection provided one way or another, we’ll see a significant rise in captcha-solved spam.

Sorry Charles, but the human spam attack is always more expensive than the machine technique. I can buy a few machines and send out thousands of spam comments a minute–how many humans would you have to pay to do the same, 24/7?

Update: The above could totally be wrong. I’ve just deleted about 50 comments from this article, all offering to manually crack captchas with elite offshore teams:

Sadhan Kumar says on 2/2/2008 at 2:23:
Dear Sir,

I am Sadhan Kumar from Dhaka, Bangladesh. My email id # sadhan.kum@gmail.com. I am ready for working with your program. I have more experienced in this field. You can also see this like for my running work (www.qlinkgroup.com). I can entry captchas about 3000-5000 within 5 hours in a day if your site is fast. So according to your requirment. If work is big quanity then price is $4 per 1000 captchas. I can agree with your Captchas and Program. So, I am waiting for your kind help.
Thanks all

Sadhan Kumar,
Dhaka, Bagladesh

And another motivated fellow:

Balaji says on 2/16/2008 at 7:18 am:
I am Balaji from Tamil Nadu(India). I am having experience in captcha entry. I can type min 70 words per minute. I am having 10 seats with experienced team of people. Kindly give me further details.

Now we get some pricing:

Hasan says on 3/11/2008 at 6:04 am:
Hi i live in Bangladesh. I have enough experience in captcha entry work.I can entry captchas about 4000-5000 within 6 hours in a day if your site is fast. So according to your requirment. If work is big quanity then price is $3 per 1000 captchas. I can agree with you do your own work.If you desire to contact me email id: work_in_house@yahoo.com. My phone +883792009216. Please contact me if you interested to me then i will give you my best work. I have lot of worker like computer entry related work.

And a couple big players:

shkilur rahaman shohel Says:

Hi!!! Hope you are doing well. We the leading Data processing company in Bangladesh. Presently we are processing 100000+ captcha per day by our 30 operators. We have a well set up and We can give the law rate for the captcha solving.

Our rate $2 per 1000 captcha.yahoo,hotmail,mayspace,gmail, facebook etc.

We just wanna make the relationship for long terms. can we go forward? Thank you.

Best Regards
shakilur rahaman shohe

Sadhan Kumar says on 5/28/2008 at 7:03 pm
Dear Sir,

I am Sadhan Kumar from Dhaka, Bangladesh. My email id # sadhan.kum@gmail.com. I am ready for working with your program. I have more experienced in this field. You can also see this like for my running work google, facebook & myspace companies. My firm can enter captchas about 200k within 1 day if your site is fast. So according to your requirment. If work is big quanity then price is $2 per 1000 captchas. I can agree with your any Captcha project. So, I am waiting for your kind reply.
Best Regards

Sadhan Kumar
Dhaka, Bagladesh

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 25th, 2006 at 5:58 pm and is tagged with . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.

17 Responses to “Solving Captchas With MIT’s $100 Computer?”

  1. shivaji says:

    I’ve a team of 10 people.
    we are currently working on CAPTCHA entry.
    My team’s average typing speed is 45 wpm.
    we are solving 100000 captcha’s per a day.

    We are ready to start working with who is ready to pay at-least $1.5 per 1000 captcha.

    If, Interested, please contact me on dsj.kvd@gmail.com

  2. shijisha says:

    hi,
    i am shiji from india. i have experience in captcha field.i am agree with your terms of 3$per 1000k.So pls reply me as early as possible. My mail id shijisadanand@yahoo.com

  3. Hi
    This is NITIN LALWANI.
    I read ur terms and condition. I m agree with ur project. If u provide me $2 per 1000 correct captcha. That was realy good for me. My typing speed is 55 W.P.M.

  4. Balaji says:

    Hi,
    I have expert Team.
    I am ready to start project.
    Our rate is $2.5 per 1000 Captcha.
    yahoo ID = balaji.freelancer@yahoo.com
    Thanks

  5. noman says:

    HI this is noman
    I want captcha work and i want work with you so plz give me work on your site my speed is 40 Word per min …. If you have good rate of 1k than Plz contact me smartnahm@gmail.com..

    Thanking You
    Noman Memon

  6. Rajesh Mittal says:

    I am Rajesh Mittal from Ajmer, India. My email id # rajeshmittal2002@gmail.com. I am ready for working with your program. I have good experienced in this field. I can entry captchas about 4000-5000 within 7 hours in a day . So according to your requirment. If work is big quanity then price is $3 per 1000 captchas. I can agree with your Captchas and Program. So, I am waiting for your kind help.
    Thanks all

  7. nagendra says:

    hi sir,

    i have a team, we are solving 12000 captchas daily.
    pls give us the project. we will deliver it in time

    thank you

  8. Abhishek says:

    Hi

    I am interested for this process. Please let me know as i have good team who can work on this project. My e-mail is abhishek.biratnagar@gmail.com

  9. supermud says:

    I am a leader of the biggest captcha teams. My email id # zxw88888@gmail.com. my yahoo id is captchaagent@yahoo.cn .I am ready for working with your program. I have more experienced in this field. You can also see this like for my running work google, facebook & myspace companies. My firm can enter captchas about 300k within 1 day if your site is fast. So according to your requirment. If work is big quanity then price is $2 per 1000 captchas. I can agree with your any Captcha project. So, I am waiting for your kind reply.
    Best Regards

  10. Arfin says:

    Hello,
    This is Arfin from Bangladesh. I can handle your total project. You can contact with me. Then we can discuss about the captcha rate and working progress.

    Thanks!
    -Arfin
    CaSoftTech LTD

  11. I know this is an old post but im curious.. and yes I know weird question; can I actually hire someone for IN house captcha entry? What a boring job I know. But I was just wondering if people actually do this. Nonetheless I did post an ad on CL lol so we will see what happens. I just thought this was an odd request on my part.

  12. Lever says:

    Charles: More poor people with cheap latops = more captchas + less 419s…? Somehow I don’t think so; Between scamming a few grand from some dumb, rich western schmuck or two and scratching together a “basic wage” from tedious manual work that can be automated I see the restless natives going for the higher $ income. Or have I completely overestimated the lu[c]re of capitalism?

    • Elliott Back says:

      Cheap laptops will definitely increase 419s. Not that captcha breaking is any better. The accounts that get cracked just get passed along for some other shady use.

  13. Charles says:

    As I said in the article, if captchas had been solved as a machine problem, then we would be seeing an astronomical explosion in the amount, because certainly many of the blogs I look at have captcha protection (eg blogger, various Wordpress ones who have taken the trouble).

    There’s a difference between sending out the attempted comment spams, and their appearing. If you get people to do it for you, you’re sure of success. What success rate do you get with comment spam? (And you don’t need a “few machines”. One will do. Haven’t you heard of open proxies?) The price will reflect that difference, sure.

    Lastly, my point – in the article, had you taken the time – was focussed by reading a New Yorker article about life in Lagos, which is the world’s sixth-biggest city, and where a lot of people spend their lives looking for just anyway to get an edge. In some ways, if they could make an *honest* living from filling in captchas, that would be a lot better than doing 419s on people, don’t you think?

    • Elliott Back says:

      Charles, I am beginning to agree with you. I’ve seen a huge number of manual spam attempts on my blog which are hard to block /because they are being entered by a human/.

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