One of the most frustrating things about web browsing is solving the mandatory CAPTCHA challenges on websites designed to differentiate between real users and bots. If you’re tired of trying annoying requests to identify “boats” in the picture, here’s some good news – American network security and network service provider Cloudflare says it wants to get rid of the service altogether.
The CAPTCHA, or fully automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans, has actually helped several websites protect themselves from robots and automated services from system flooding and congestion to block services for real people.
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However, these challenges are time consuming – according to a Cloudflare study, it takes the user an average of 32 seconds. With more than 4.6 billion users, the company says that even if a user sees a CAPTCHA every 10 days, “500 human years are wasted every day – just for us to show our humanity,” the company says.
Cloudflare has a plan to get rid of the world of troubling CAPTCHA countries. “Today is the end of fires, intersections and traffic lights on the Internet,” the company said, adding that it would replace the CAPTCHA challenges with Yubikeys – also known as Trusted USB Keys. Using the “Staff Encryption Certificate,” the company says it reduces authentication to five seconds and three clicks to show that you are not a bot.
Users visit a website that shows them a challenge – like cloudflarechallenge.com and then click “I’m human (beta)”. Cloudflare shows them a prompt prompting them to connect a Yubikey or other trusted USB device (or tap it on their phone using NFC). If authentication is successful, the user will be admitted without a CAPTCHA challenge.
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Personal cryptographic certification works on all browsers on iOS 14.5, Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu, while Android users must use Chrome according to Cloudflare. Users who already have a Yubikey or similar hardware security key can visit the sample Cloudflare site to see what the feature might look like when it’s ready and provide feedback to the company.
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