If there’s one thing that website owners hate, it’s spam. Even with basic protections, site owners can easily find their Inbox and Spam folder filled with messages from contact forms that were clearly filled out by bots. These messages could be for businesses services of dubious quality and messages for services that can generously be called inappropriate. Google is running a beta test for a new system to further protect websites from spam.
Earlier this week, Google launched a free trial of reCAPTCHA Enterprise, their updated anti-solution. The service, which will work on websites and mobile apps, blocks fraudulent activity, whether it’s committed by a bot, script, or human.
According to Google, “With reCAPTCHA Enterprise, you can defend your website against fraudulent activity like scraping, credential stuffing, and automated account creation and help prevent costly exploits from automated bots.”
The new, reCAPTCHA Enterprise will let website and app owners fine-tune the level of security they get from the app. Visitors are assigned a score based on their behavior and the sites they visited before. Among the features available with reCAPTCHA Enterprise, administrators can view the various rating and set actions according to thresholds based on those scores. Google gives the example of requiring two-factor authentication email verification for visitors who have a score that’s too low.
Administers for the system will be able to see who was blocked and they can overturn any false positives. The program is designed to learn from these manual changes from the administrator, which will make the system more accurate in the future.
The new, reCAPTCHA Enterprise should also guard against automated plagiarism attacks. Some bots are designed to scape a site’s content so it can be duplicated somewhere else. Though Google penalizes sites with duplicate content, it’s better to prevent content copying in the first place. By blocking bots and inauthentic activity, reCAPTCHA Enterprise can help protect a website. Reducing the number of bots trying to download content from a site will also speed up things for other visitors.
Reducing the amount of spam that reaches website owners is good for everyone involved. When a mailbox is bombarded with spam messages, there’s a chance that an essential correspondence from a customer gets overlooked. Spam emails are also a common vector for infecting a computer with a virus or malware, so reducing spam can improve security.
Though the trial is free, it may not be available to everyone. Website owners can sign up to be considered for the trial, but there’s no guarantee that they will be chosen. As an “Enterprise” service, it’s likely that Google will want to work with larger sites with more content to protect. However, since Google hasn’t provided any guidelines on how they will choose, there’s no harm in signing up if this reCAPTCHA Enterprise sounds interesting to you.
For more recent news about Google’s fight against spam content, read this article that highlights some of the main points from Google’s annual report on webspam.