Look out: Spam from Gmail is coming
CAPTCHAâ€”Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apartâ€”is an both an annoyance and a safety net for netizens. A large number of web services (blogger, gmail, yahoo mail, live hotmail to name a few), CAPTCHA is used to stop the automated registration of bots keeping it a human-only used service.
While CAPTCHA has been proven quite effective from keeping bots (and some humans as well) away, over the past few years, hackers have been hard at work at cracking it’s security.
With the successful hacking of Windows Live Mail’s CAPTCHA, Websense reports that Gmail has also fallen victim.
Apparently, one out of five attempts at registration succeeds with the CAPTCHA-breaking request. Now that number may look at bit low but think of that 20% in terms of the hundreds (or thousands) of e-mail accounts that hackers will register at a time.
It’s believed that there are four main advantages to breaking into Gmail.
- Signing up for a Gmail account gives access to its other services as well.
- -firstname.lastname@example.org is unlikely to be blacklisted by spam filters (I know mine don’t).
- Google’s services are free.
- It maybe hard to track as millions of users worldwide are using various Google services on a regular basis.
Google can implement a harder CAPTCHA system but I doubt it’ll be in action anytime soon.
So while waiting for better security measures from the gmail team, what can you do to prevent SPAM from filling your inbox?
- Keep your anti-spam filters updated.Â Bot-driven Gmail and Hotmail accounts may pass through them but at least you get most of the trash out.
- Read the excerpt of an email before opening it. This is common sense to most netizens but there’s still people who are either very careless or are simply gullible.Â Usually you can tell if it’s spam with the first few sentences.
- Check the email address it if makes sense.Â Like the excerpt, if the address doesn’t make sens, it’s likely to be from a spam bot.
- Check against your contacts.Â If your email is a personal one (family use, etc) and you get some message that sounding formal, it’s likely to be from a spam bot.
Further reading:CAPTCHA, free-software, internet, Security