Online website security with a CAPTCHA is the need of the hour because the internet landscape is currently plagued with bots, spammers, and scammers. If at any point you see a substantial amount of traffic coming to your website, with only a fraction of it converting, then this indicates bot traffic. Bots are used for various reasons — to sway public opinions, for promotion on competitor sites, to steal email IDs and credentials, scrape website data, and much more.
Large businesses now hire cybersecurity experts to dig deeper into their site’s security whenever the traffic and conversion rate is highly disproportionate. However, if you operate a small or mid-sized business, you may not afford such experts but continue reading. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about CAPTCHAs and how you can use them to stall bot traffic on your website for free, so let’s get started.
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What is CAPTCHA?
The term CAPTCHA is the abbreviation of the phrase Completely Automated Public Turing Test, which was invented around 1997 when cybercrime was still in its nascent stages. It is a simple challenge that requires the website visitor to respond correctly. As the name implies, it is a test that investigates whether the user is a human or a computer program.
This is done by asking the visitor to solve a simple test or puzzle that an average human can crack, but it could be impossible for an algorithm. Since the puzzles are random, it is nearly impossible for cybercriminals to create programs capable of solving them. This deficiency of the bot or program is used to identify it and eventually block it from accessing a website and inserting malware.
Need for CAPTCHAs
CAPTCHAs filter out bots and spammers, which is essential to protect your website from hackers and those with malicious objectives. It is necessary to keep a tab on bots and algorithmic activities, which can be dangerous for your website in many ways.
To begin with, not filtering out bots could increase your website’s spam score and ruin its online reputation. Unless controlled, it could put your website’s reputation at stake because every collaborator would look for this as an indicator of trust. If a website shows a very high spam score, it will not come across as a trustworthy business.
Also, it can be used to sway public opinion by using bots to post hundreds of comments for or against a particular notion. As this is not genuine public opinion, it poses a threat to the integrity of public opinion on the internet. For quite some time, bots have been used to post bulk comments on news blogs and informational websites.
If you operate an e-commerce site or sell tickets, you must know that bots can be used to make bulk purchases. CAPTCHAs can prevent bots from creating fake accounts and launching brute-force attempts for those who have subscription-based websites.
What about SSL Security?
When it comes to ensuring your website’s security, you wouldn’t want to take any chances. Fortify your in-transit communications by installing an SSL certificate on your website. This encrypts the data exchanged between the web server and the client browser and can only be decrypted by the intended recipient. This renders enhanced security and builds on consumer trust, which works well for your business. SSL certs are available in various types online and at extremely pocket-friendly prices too. We suggest going for premium yet cheap Comodo SSL or RapidSSL certs that afford unmatched security with varying validation levels.
What types of CAPTCHAs are available?
CAPTCHAs are challenge-response tests that help the system differentiate between human and bot traffic. These come in many forms, but the goal is to make the user think and solve a simple problem to confirm that individual’s ability to think.
Some of the most popular CAPTCHA types are listed below:
This type of CAPTCHA requires the user to solve simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem, which any average person can solve mentally.
The user sees a distorted word that the user must re-type into a box to confirm his or her ability to read. Usually, this type of CAPTCHA is accompanied by an audio option that lets the user listen and type to get through the CAPTCHA problem.
This requires the user to click on a particular type of object like mountains or palm trees on a grid of pictures until there are none. Furthermore, it compels the user to interact with the puzzle based on a pre-condition, which bots cannot do.
How to install CAPTCHA on a website?
Now that we have discussed everything you need to know about CAPTCHA, you are probably wondering how much it costs and how you can install one on your website. You’d be surprised to know that you can install the best CAPTCHA solution for free. Yes, Google gives out its reCAPTCHA, a free turing tool absolutely free, and you can be sure that it is top-notch.
In March 2018, the reCAPTCHA tool shut down its version 1 and currently supports only versions 2 and 3. Version 2 shows up as a one-time checkbox for every session and is ideal for non-subscription blogs and websites without interactive text. For more advanced sites, the reCAPTCHA v3 would be ideal because it comes with advanced features. For example, when the user enters text into forms or other interactive sections of the website, the engine keeps a score and detects anomalies.
You also get to plan further actions when a risk is detected, and this may involve asking for email verification or sending posts and comments for moderation. Once you have decided on the reCAPTCHA version you wish to install, you need to sign up here and use the API to install the reCAPTCHA tool on your website.
CAPTCHA plays an important role in fraud detection and advanced risk analysis. It must therefore be installed on every website, particularly ones that have forms and accept comments. Although there are several CAPTCHA tools available, we have focused on reCAPTCHA because it comes from Google.
Once installed, it shields the website and protects its integrity from malicious threat actors who use computer programs for nefarious purposes. Therefore, if you have not yet installed this security tool on your website, then you need to hurry up before bots and spammers ruin your website’s online reputation and exploit vulnerabilities.