Gmail CAPTCHA cracking leads to spam surge

by admin March 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Spammers are creating huge numbers of Gmail accounts and using them to multiply their message blasts by circumventing the test Google uses to neutralize automated sign-up tools, according to a report from security vendor MessageLabs.

MessageLabs monitored a surge in spam originating from Google Gmail accounts at the end of February. Matt Sergeant, a senior antispam technologist for the company, said the uptick indicates that spammers have found ways to sneak past CAPTCHAS (Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart), which are designed to defend against automated sign-up tools by requiring the user to enter the letters to validate that a human is requesting the account.

Entities such as Yahoo and Hotmail also use CAPTCHAs, and if spammers have indeed found ways to circumvent the mechanism, it signals a dangerous trend for the Internet as a whole, Sergeant said.

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