Most of you know what a CAPTCHA is and probably know what they are for. For the uninitiated, a CAPTCHA is that little set of numbers/letters that you have to type in sometimes when doing something online – usually registering for something.
CAPTCHA is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, and it’s intended purpose is to prevent computer scripts from abusing a system and only allowing humans to enter.
Of course, CAPTCHAs can be defeated by computer scripts, and humans can abuse a system without using a computer script, but for the most part CAPTCHAs work pretty well.
So why am I talking so much about CAPTCHAs?
According to some Milepoint members, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is experimenting with using CAPTCHAs on its promotional offers.
Went to register for the DL/IHG promotion from an email I got last night, and the registration page on the IHG website came up with a CAPTCHA, similar to that of Hilton’s of a few weeks ago and now ongoing. … Is this something new there too due to them being hacked recently, or are they just proactively being careful? ~blackjack-21
Some wonder if this might be a defense mechanism put in place by IHG in response to the recent and ongoing onslaught of hacker attacks.
The short answer: yep, that’s probably why IHG is doing it. But this isn’t to ward off attacks from the master hackers like Anonymous or Guardians of Peace. These CAPTCHAs have more likely been put in place because some wannabe hacker somewhere was practicing writing a basic hacking script and decided to use IHG’s site as a test ground. Evidently the script worked and IHG was seeing their database get loaded up with lots and lots of junk in the form of false promo signups and so they decided to try to put a stop to it.
That, or some gung-ho member of the IHG IT team who just learned how to install CAPTCHAs in class suggested adding them to prevent possible abuse, even though none was currently taking place.
Read the thread where Milepoint members are discussing the new CAPTCHAs in its entirety: CAPTCHA now on IHG too?