Technology

Why is Apple beta testing a feature to bypass CAPTCHAs?

For E-world : Captcha to keep automated spam out

For E-world : Captcha to keep automated spam out | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

Apple is reportedly beta testing a feature that will allow its users to bypass CAPTCHA. Yes, those annoying grid boxes that ask you to identify crosswalks, signal and fire hydrants. 

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A CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a security measure to verify whether the person behind the screen is real or a bot that is trying to break into a password protected account. 

CAPTCHAs are used by platforms including Google, government websites and apps to prevent unauthorised account entry to websites that potentially display sensitive information. While the feature is beneficial to users, they are a hassle most often. And so, Apple is beta testing, in its iOS 16, something the company is calling Private Access Tokens. 

In a video released for developers, Apple explained how their tokens work. They apparently have a two-way benefit for users. One, they will mask users IP addresses, which are often accessed by servers when entering CAPTCHA to ensure user authenticity, ensuring greater user privacy. Secondly, these will save users the hassle of entering CAPTCHAs every time they visit a website. 

How will Private Access Tokens work ?

Simply put, Apple’s systems will verify the status of a device - whether it is in good standing, this will be determined based on the device usage patterns, and present a Private Access Token to the website or app it is accessing. This system will thus eliminate the need for CAPTCHAs in the process improving user access when creating an account or visiting a website. 

“Don’t be captured by CAPTCHAs! Private Access Tokens are a powerful alternative that help you identify HTTP requests from legitimate devices and people without compromising their identity or personal information,” reads the description of the video released by Apple. 

Apple has named Fastly and Cloudflare as two CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) who have already made their issuer services available. Apple also stated that other issuers including CAPTCHA providers, web hosting services, and CDNs will start signing up for the program starting later this year. And that Private Access Tokens will be available for iOS16, iPadOS16, and macOS Ventura users as these respective softwares start rolling out for users.   


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 5:49:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/why-is-apple-beta-testing-a-feature-to-bypass-captchas/article65553220.ece