Monday, November 5, 2007

You have to take your (white) hat off to these hackers.... and a lot else too!

The Washington Post has an article on an interesting new piece of malware.

Captchas are those weird little blocks with numbers and letters all jumbled up and fairly difficult to read. They are there to check whether the user is a human or a computer pretending to be a human. They essentially prevent hackers from automating things that server owners would prefer them not to automate.

An example is - when you sign up for a mail account you have to decipher the captcha so that you can have the email account. This is to prevent spammers from signing up with free accounts 100 or 1000 at a time and using them to send spam, repeating the process when they are shut down. captchas have a lot of negative points but they have been rather effective.

The new malware is essentially a picture of a blond lady who will do a strip show for you. The catch is that you need to decipher some captchas, for each one she has less and less clothing. This sounds like a nice trade-off but each captcha that you enter basically signs a spammer up for a free email account. They are using you (being a human) as the middle man.

I hate spammers with a passion but I have to admit that this is a piece of genius.
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