What Is a CAPTCHA and How Does It Work

A colleague was trying to open a Facebook account, and she came across a CAPTCHA test page. She was muddled because for some reason she has neither come across such distorted text nor understand what it meant. Anyone who surfs the internet frequently would have come across this text at one point in time. Just like her, I bet you have some questions: what does a CAPTCHA code mean? How does it work? Have I been hacked? etc.

This post would give you the right answers

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What Is a CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA is an acronym that stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Simply put, CAPTCHA is a programmed test to determine if your input is from a human or a robot. Surprised? I hope not. You must have come across it in the form of word solving, pictures, audio, math solution, drag and drop, and Tic Tac Toe. At that point, you need to solve them to verify your human identity and gain access to some websites. If verified, a green tick sign appears to confirm the process. In some cases, a CAPTCHA may appear in different forms just to strengthen the verification process.

We live in a highly-automated world, where robots are gradually becoming just as advanced as humans. CAPTCHA is been programmed into websites to block automated machines and robots from accessing them. Since these robots pose a threat online, it’s best to get rid of them using CAPTCHAs. Likewise, they thwart scammer’s comment, prevent illegal extraction of data, protect online polling, protect website registrations, and junk mails. 

CAPTCHA code is easily solvable by any human that comes across it. Although for robots, it would be hard to solve because of the encrypted numbers and texts. The verification process demands that users solve the puzzle or input the encrypted text correctly in the box provided. Since they are easy to decode, it will only take a few seconds to solve if your internet connection is fast. That way, only humans can access the website and they are safe to navigate through it. In addition, the CAPTCHA website makes it safe to input any vital information.


How Does CAPTCHA Work?

For some websites, entering a wrong CAPTCHA will make you wait for a few seconds before you try again and get it right. This is to allow the site to automatically recreate another distinct text or puzzle for you to solve. Sometimes, the next turn will come in different puzzles or codes on that same website you are trying to login to. Understand that it comes in these complex forms so that is unlikely for robots to be able to solve them.


While surfing a website and your behavior or activities resembles that of a robot, the CAPTCHA automatically appears to verify that you are human to continue. You might notice that in cases where you have experienced multiple user logins, it automatically appears too. Feel free to solve them correctly, as it is just an online safety precaution for both the user and the site.

Where Do You Find a CAPTCHA?


Notably, CAPTCHA appears in login forms, account sign up forms, and e-commerce checkout pages. Some bloggers also have them programmed into their WordPress sites. In addition, you will definitely find it on the Sign-in page of Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and other top websites.

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With the advent of advanced machine learning, CAPTCHA is becoming more vulnerable to robots than before. This is where another complex test like Google reCAPTCHA and advanced CAPTCHA code comes in. Therefore, you might come across a reCAPTCHA rather than a CAPTCHA but know that they serve the same purpose.

In conclusion, a sudden CAPTCHA test page can distort a user flow while using the internet. Nevertheless, bear it in mind that your human nature and online presence needs to be safe. The next time you come across it, use your human ability to solve them correctly. Sadly, people who are visually impaired might find it difficult to decipher them. Hence, they cannot access some top websites but with help from a third party. I hope that, someday, an online provision will be available to them that will accommodate their special needs.


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