Over at the Webmaster World forum, Brett Tabke started a post you’ll want to read: vBulletin Issues Warning : Google reCAPTCHA System Cracked.
Here is more information. Google’s reCAPTCHA system, which is meant to protect websites, forums, and bulletin boards from spam and excessive registrations, may have been compromised. An independent researcher claims that he tested the system with automated attacks and successfully thwarted reCAPTCHA 17.5% in testing.
Most of us are familiar with CAPTCHA, an acronym for Completely Automated Public Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It deters spammers from inundating sites with junk posts. You’ve seen CAPTCHA when registering at a new site or posting comments on a blog. It’s a box with distorted words or a combination of letters and numbers that you enter to prove you’re human and not an automated program.
Google contends their system was not cracked and that the researcher tested an older version of reCAPTCHA. However, after hearing this news, many site owners are saying that, yes, they’ve noticed a big increase in spam posts.
If you use vBulletin they are suggesting switching to the Q&A Verification system until the issue is investigated further and resolved. Of course, this method is not fool proof either.
Mello, Jr., John P. “Google ReCAPTCHA Cracked.” Anti Spam, Anti Phishing and Email Security in Business – AllSpammedUp.com. 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2011.