I’ve been getting a lot of comments spam in the past few days trying to improve the pagerank of some online pharmacy. Firewall rules haven’t been that effective, since these appear to be sent by robots running on zombied machines across a number of IP nets. Turning on moderation was also not particularly effective, in the sense that the robots are already running and aimed at my site, and I don’t want to wade through all the comments moderation email.
The best thing I could think of was a captcha, which requires an extra field entry before the comment can be approved. The font is actually a bit hard to read, even for humans, though. The hack was found at Gudlyf’s World, after a pointer at a general WordPress anti-spam page. The only modifications had to do with how authimage.php was being referenced, i.e., a URL path issue.
My site isn’t sufficiently interesting to go through the effort, but I recalled reading a few months ago that captcha techniques had already been circumvented, or at least defeated in theory. Basically, spammers have harnessed the power of porn on the Internet to defeat captcha. Ingenious. Evil, but ingenious: it’s a simple idea, obvious when you hear about it, that defeats any sort of captcha performed on the Net. A further implication, I’m sure that’s already been brought up elsewhere, is that, for certain puposes, the Internet can be considered a cyborg, a mixture of organic and machine. As a cyborg, the Internet displays sufficient (collective, human) intelligence to pass Turing tests, or exhibit encyclopedic knowledge about obscure technical questions, like the capabilties of an IBM Selectric, circa 1972. The trick is to be able to harness this potential.