I’m not a robot: updating iOS verification marks the end of “catchas”

Annoyance, an important safety feature, an uncomfortable existential requirement: no matter how you feel asked to prove that you are not a robot, it has become an everyday occurrence for most of us, but we might not miss it.

The new feature in upcoming versions of iOS and macOS, Apple’s iPhone and PC operating systems, promises to run “catchas” once and for all. Called “automatic verification”, the technology will allow sites to confirm that you are not a robot without having to do anything.

Captchas – a “fully automated public Turing test to distinguish between computers and humans” – are small tests you sometimes see when you log on to a website to prevent fraud.

You may be asked to notice all the traffic lights in the picture or to type some hesitant letters and numbers. If you make a mistake, it may ask you to start over, which will make you wonder if you really know what a traffic light looks like – or maybe you’re a robot after all.

“You probably don’t like this to interrupt you,” said Tommy Polly of Apple. “Certainly not. The reason why these experiences exist is to prevent fraudulent activities. If you are running a server, you do not want to be overwhelmed by the scam. Some attempts to open an account or purchase products come from legitimate users. But other attempts can be from attackers or bots. “

The company has worked with Fastley and Cloudflare, two companies that manage the infrastructure level of much of the public Internet, to build this feature. It relies on the same kind of technology that supports Apple’s efforts to change passwords across the Internet and works by allowing your device to send an encrypted statement confirming that it is being used by a person on the website that requested it.

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Although the service is connected to Apple’s iCloud network, the requested site will not receive any personal information about the user or his device.

While Apple was the first to push such technology to users, the basic idea was used by Google, which helped develop standards and built a similar system in Chrome. But Google’s version so far has focused on allowing third parties to make their own Captcha replacements, instead of phasing out the technology altogether.

In fact, Google could even lose out on change: since the company bought a startup called reCaptcha in 2009, it has used human input from tests as part of its training data for large machine learning projects, first asking people to help transcribe scanned books and later used the answers to train his machine vision systems on road characteristics to perfect his self-driving car projects.

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