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Google Launches reCAPTCHA v3

Google on Monday announced the launch of reCAPTCHA v3, which aims to improve user experience by removing the need for challenges.

reCAPTCHA is the security service provided by Google for protecting websites from spam and abuse. reCAPTCHA v1 asked every user to read a distorted text and enter it into a box. The second version has brought significant improvements as it leverages various other types of data to determine if a request comes from a bot or a human, allowing many users to access content simply by ticking a box.

With reCAPTCHA v3, Google is making user experience even more frictionless by running adaptive risk analysis in the background and providing a score that tells website owners how suspicious an interaction is.

The score can be used to define “action” tags, which allow administrators to specify the key steps users have to take. The score ranges between 1.0, which indicates that the user is very likely human, and 0.0, which is very likely a bot.

Google recommends adding reCAPTCHA v3 to multiple pages for a more accurate risk analysis. The reCAPTCHA admin console provides information on scores and actions, and it helps users identify pages targeted by bots.

The Internet giant says the reCAPTCHA v3 score can be used for several purposes. One of them is setting a threshold that specifies if a user will be let through or if further verification is required. The default recommended threshold is 0.5.

Administrators are advised to take action behind the scenes — for example, requiring two-factor authentication to prevent credential stuffing, or sending suspicious comments on social channels for moderation — rather than blocking traffic altogether.

The score can also be combined with other data collected by website owners, including transaction histories and user profiles, for an even more accurate verification. Google says the score can also be useful for training machine learning models designed to detect abuse.

“By providing you with these new ways to customize the actions that occur for different types of traffic, this new version lets you protect your site against bots and improve your user experience based on your website’s specific needs,” said Wei Liu, product manager at Google.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.