“Yandex” has released a “killer” of the super popular Google service. The new option is smarter and more convenient

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Yandex provided Russian webmasters with access to the SmartCaptcha service, an analogue of the Google reCAPTCHA test to check for a robot. SmartCaptcha was developed in Russia and is available for free at the testing stage. Instead of searching for images of hydrants and traffic lights, he offers text recognition. This is 85% compared to image search.

Russian analogue of reCAPTCHA

The Russian Internet giant Yandex has opened access to the SmartCaptcha service to protect websites from robots, representatives of the Yandex Cloud told CNews. The project, which was originally used only as part of Yandex products, is now available to third parties.

SmartCaptcha is a Russian analogue of the American CAPTCHA test, created in 1997 and reCAPTCHA in 2007. The abbreviation in the title stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Since 2009, the service has been owned by the American corporation Google, which regularly updated it in subsequent years.

In its 25 years of existence, reCAPTCHA has become the world’s most popular robot protection service. In Russia, its share is 98%, followed by the hCaptcha service with a result of 1%, which is supported by the independent company Intuition Machines (Yandex statistics). All other similar projects share the remaining 1% of the market.

Representatives of Yandex Cloud told CNews that SmartCaptcha is currently being tested by 30 Russian companies, including large Russian banks, telecom providers, and food tech companies. The development of the service, according to representatives of Yandex Cloud, was carried out by internal specialists of the Internet giant, without the involvement of third-party programmers.

Is free. Nearly

During the testing phase, SmartCaptcha can be used free of charge upon request. According to representatives of Yandex Cloud, this stage will be completed “within the next few months.” When asked by CNews about tariffs, Yandex Cloud representatives said that after the service becomes General available, the number of validation requests to the SmartCaptcha API will be charged. If they are less than 250 thousand per month, payment will not be required. If this threshold is exceeded, the price will be 100 rubles. for every thousand requests. In this case, you will have to pay only for the actual number of requests. For example, the cost of 250,001 requests will be 0.1 rubles.

What is it for

In recent years, robots have become a big problem for website owners. So, for the summer of 2022, it was they who generated 64% of the traffic on the sites (Barracuda Networks statistics). More than a third of these robots (within 39%) are malicious. At the end of Q1 2022, the number of robots in Runet, according to Qrator Labs, increased by 19%.

The original reCAPTCHA. According to Google, everyone in the world knows what a fire hydrant looks like.

In Russia, CAPTCHA services are used by more than 374,000 Runet sites. In this regard, Russia is in ninth place, behind the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy and Australia (in decreasing order of the number of sites with CAPTCHA).

SmartCaptcha is a Russian development that allows domestic companies and users to opt out of using the American reCAPTCHA service. Google has already supported anti-Russian sanctions – it removes Russian banking applications from the Play catalog and interferes with the operation of its own infrastructure in Russia by turning off Google Global Cache servers. They are needed for faster operation of the corporation’s services, including YouTube and CAPTCHA. In addition, the Russian representative office of Google filed for bankruptcy.

How it all works

The SmartCaptcha service for the user looks almost the same as reCAPTCHA. He will only need to check the box next to the inscription “I’m not a robot” and click the “Submit” button.

In most cases, this will complete the check. But sometimes a window will appear on the screen in which you will need to enter the text shown in the image. This is the main difference between SmartCaptcha and reCAPTCHA, which regularly offers users to find taxis, boats, fire hydrants, cars, stairs and other elements of modern life in pictures.

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The choice in favor of the text is made for a reason. As stated on the SmartCaptcha website, this makes it possible to “keep human recognition rates at 85% and make it harder for bots to recognize captchas.”

SmartCaptcha in action

SmartCaptcha will become a serious obstacle for robots, because for additional verification, SmartCaptcha independently generates arbitrary phrases, which it replaces with real images with text.

Additionally, SmartCaptcha provides the ability to adjust the complexity of the text. It is performed by the owner of the site, three levels are available to him – easy, medium and difficult. Also, “Yandex has provided the ability to visually customize the SmartCaptcha window – you can change the background, frames, and labels.

Who else is against reCAPTCHA

Google’s reCAPTCHA service completely ceased to suit CloudFlare in April 2020. It provides Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, DDoS protection, secure access to resources, and domain name servers (DNS). It uses this test to determine whether a human or a robot is accessing its servers.

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reCAPTCHA and CloudFlare parted ways because Google decided to start charging users for their service. CloudFlare management did not like this initiative, and as a result, it switched to hCaptcha.

In May 2021, CloudFlare decided to completely stop using CAPTCHA in any of its manifestations. In a blog post, the company wrote that the test takes too long for people to complete.

To replace CAPTCHA, Cloudflare developed a specialized cryptographic identity check. According to them, it will take only five seconds and three mouse clicks (in the case of accessing the Internet via a PC). To pass the new robot test, Cloudflare offers to click on the “I’m a human” button, and then in the window that appears, select identification using a trusted USB key. After that, you need to insert the key into the computer or bring it to the smartphone. In the latter case, the key will be read via NFC.

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