Spammers are hiring people in India, Bangladesh and other countries to bypass security systems by solving captchas.
The freelancer.com website is currently advertising 34 captcha projects. Some, such as “24/7 Hours Captcha Data Entry”, have attracted over 100 bids.
Another offers the princely sum of $0.95 per day, but attaches strict conditions: “Must do exactly what we guide. If not, you will be dimissed!” reads the ad.” Must work from 9 pm to 6 am Asia time. Female is better.”
Providers such as SuccessAll, CaptchaLimited and WorkCaptcha advertise their services. “We are the kings of the world of captcha data entry. We are interested in bidding on projects,” boasts WorkCaptcha in its entry. “We already worked with many clients on similar kind of captcha projects.”
It says it has recently won a dozen projects including “Private project for CaptchaProject” and “captcha free yahoo accounts”.
Early versions of captchas, designed to distinguish between human beings and computers, turned out to be decipherable by computer programs after all. More elaborate ways of disguising the text solved the problem, at least in the short term.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine a type of captcha that can distinguish between a genuine user and a Bangladeshi on slave wages.