Web Designer Asks: What Are Those Website Security Codes?

Have you ever been on a website and encountered a funky looking security code that you’re asked to type in? Sure you have- they are all over the internet.

This technology is called CAPTCHA and web designers put it on website forms to protect owners from being attacked by a mass of spam. You see, malicious programmers build bots, or programs, that loiter across the web and complete every form it can, sending spam and other unwanted nonsense to website owners. CAPTCHA security codes force the submitter to prove they are human. As a program approaches a CAPTCHA-enabled form, they cannot look at the picture to interpret the characters in it. In that way, only humans can complete these forms, and spammers lose! After all, CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart (yes, we web designers love those acronyms!).

While these security codes have become a standard in web protection, they can be improved. A common complaint is they are too difficult to read despite the ability to generate new ones. We hope the technology continues to improve and become more user-friendly without sacrificing it’s spam defenses.