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G-WAN Captcha Decode

G-WAN is a new free web server. They seem to be very proud of it, or at least just want to make a lot of money. Well anyway, in almost every sentence they write, they claim that they are 20% cooler than anything else. It feels a bit arrogant. I have to admit, I don't know a lot about web servers, so I can't speak to how good they are.

However, then I saw their Captcha example. I also don't know much about machine learning algorithms, OCR, and stuff like that, but I do know how to read pixels. I also know how to compare values with python :P

demo

They say the following about their Captcha:

[...] difficult or even completely impossible for robots.

Wait wat? If this is true, this is something really outstanding and maybe an alternative to reCaptcha...

But then I was like:

are you kidding me?

So I wrote this basic stupid pixel by pixel reading and comparing code, to decode the captcha.

smrrd$ python crack_captcha.py
GIF Image
---------
R0lGODlhGAAZAJEAAP///9//v4SkZAAAACH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAAYABkAAAJfhI+pGB0rmHuGAmtEPJj7E23VYlmbeDnMB2guu44J2lWqQi/6Drl0k7hlSKwSiHeBgV5BTK2FNOKIsmQVJekIkdzgTEOVIERY4ApDPoczTOvzCbVtq/G6kt4CK+BdRQEAOw==

Captcha Data Matrix
-------------------
                                                
  1 1 1 1               2         1 1 1 1 1     
  1       1           2 2         1             
  1       1         2   2         1             
  1       1       2     2         1 1 1 1       
  1       1       2 2 2 2 2       1             
  1       1             2         1             
  1 1 1 1               2         1             
                                                
  2 2 2 2 2         1 1 1           1 1 1       
  2               1       1       1       1     
  2                       1       1             
  2 2 2 2             1 1         1             
  2                       1       1             
  2               1       1       1       1     
  2                 1 1 1           1 1 1       
                                                
        1           2 2 2               1       
      1 1         2       2           1 1       
    1   1         2       2         1   1       
        1           2 2 2 2       1     1       
        1                 2       1 1 1 1 1     
        1         2       2             1       
        1           2 2 2               1       
                                            
color | pixel count
-------------------
    0 |        472
    1 |         81
    2 |         44

color   1 | color   2
---------------------
        3 |         4
        1 |         9
        4 |          
---------------------
        8 |        13

I also don't understand, what they think this means and why they are so excited about it:

The two sums are: 13 and 8... for the same Captcha image!
By just changing the HTML background color [...]

In the end, this was the first time I tried to solve a Captcha. I think this is the best example of how not to implement it.

YouTube Video Demo

kind regards,
samuirai

personal Website http://www.smrrd.de
I'm a member of the Stuttgart Hackerspace - shackspace

edit: to see really cool stuff with reCaptcha, check out what they did: http://www.dc949.org/projects/stiltwalker/

import base64, sys, io, Image, urllib2, re
bg = 0 # background color
cw = 8 # character width
# get the new captcha
url = urllib2.urlopen("http://62.75.175.163:8080/?captcha.c")
html = url.read().replace('\n','').replace('\r','')
url.close()
# get the base64 gif image code
# <img src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhG...AAADs=" alt="A tree" width="48" height="50" />
# => R0lGODlhG...AAADs=
regex = re.compile('.*base64,(.*)" alt')
gif_b64 = regex.match(html).group(1)
print "GIF Image"
print "---------"
print gif_b64
# load the string as image
f = io.BytesIO(base64.b64decode(gif_b64))
img = Image.open(f)
pix = img.load()
# print and analyse the pixels
print "Captcha Data Matrix"
print "-------------------"
pixels = {}
for y in xrange(0,25):
for x in xrange(0,24):
# collect data
if pix[x,y] not in pixels: pixels[pix[x,y]]=0
else: pixels[pix[x,y]]+=1
# print pixels
if pix[x,y]!=bg: print pix[x,y],
else: print ' ',
print ''
# print the analyse - total useless, but looks cool
print "color | pixel count"
print "-------------------"
for color in pixels:
print "%5d | %10d" % (color,pixels[color])
# define all characters
charset = {
0:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
1:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
2:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0]],
3:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
4:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
5:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
6:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
7:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0]],
8:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
9:
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0],
[0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0]],
}
def find_character(tmp_char):
highest_char = ['X',0,0,]
for char in xrange(0,10):
match = 0
fails = 0
for x in range(len(tmp_char)):
for y in range(len(tmp_char[x])):
#print str(tmp_char[x][y])+str(charset[char][x][y]),
if (charset[char][x][y] != 0 and tmp_char[x][y] != 0) or (charset[char][x][y] == tmp_char[x][y]):
match+=1
else: fails+=1
#print
#print [char,match,fails,]
if match>highest_char[1]:
highest_char=[char,match,fails,]
return highest_char
def get_color(tmp_char):
color = {}
for x in range(len(tmp_char)):
for y in range(len(tmp_char[x])):
if tmp_char[x][y]!=bg:
if tmp_char[x][y] not in color:
color[tmp_char[x][y]] = 0
else:
color[tmp_char[x][y]] += 1
return color.keys()
# analyse each character
color = {}
for yl in xrange(0,3):
for xl in xrange(0,3):
tmp_char = []
for y in xrange(yl*cw,yl*cw+cw):
tmp_line = []
for x in xrange(xl*cw,xl*cw+cw):
tmp_line.append(pix[x,y])
#print pix[x,y],
#print
tmp_char.append(tmp_line)
match = find_character(tmp_char)
col = get_color(tmp_char)
if not match[2]:
if col[0] not in color:
color[col[0]] = [match[0]]
else:
color[col[0]].append(match[0])
# print the sums
print ""
if len(color.keys())>=2:
print "color %3d | color %3d" % (color.keys()[0],color.keys()[1])
else:
print "color %3d | " % (color.keys()[0])
print "---------------------"
left_list = color[color.keys()[0]]
if len(color.keys())>=2:
right_list = color[color.keys()[1]]
else:
right_list = []
longest_length = 0
if len(left_list)>len(right_list): longest_length = len(left_list)
else: longest_length = len(right_list)
for row in xrange(0,longest_length):
left_val = ''
right_val = ''
if len(left_list)>row: left_val = str(left_list[row])
if len(right_list)>row: right_val = str(right_list[row])
print "%9s | %9s" % (left_val,right_val)
print "---------------------"
print "%9s | %9s" % (sum(left_list),sum(right_list))
@G-WAN

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G-WAN commented Jun 16, 2012

Samuirai,

Thanks for discussing your views about G-WAN, a Web server which inspired you, visibly.

The source code of our captcha.c example states:

"By just changing the HTML background color (mouse cursor hovering, previous state or input or shared secret) used for the transparent GIF Captcha image we can make something simple for humans become difficult or even completely impossible for robots."

This text above is also displayed when the example is run by G-WAN (as shown on your screenshot by the way).

Since you did not follow any of the suggested guidelines (nor you tried to implement anything else having similar goals), you did not even try to make it "difficult or even completely impossible for robots" as we suggested this should be done.

This example was merely showing how to exercise the (ultra-fast) G-WAN native support for in-memory GIF images when dealing with transparency. It was called captcha.c because we illustrated how such a mechanism could be done.

But you did not even attempt to do that.

Maybe trying to do it could be a good exercise, worth being published on GitHub.

@Samuirai

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Samuirai commented Jun 16, 2012

Thanks for your response.
I would like to do that, but I think I'm just to stupid to understand, how you can implement something secure with this.

Let's have a look at the facts:
The GIF itself has no background. What my code does is, it extracts the numbers for each color.
So the first fact is, the data (number and characters) in the GIF are very easy readable by a computer. Nothing to discuss here, that's how it is.

Now we have to think about, how can we implement the Captcha securely, even though the computer knows the values (So at this point, it's even not necessary ti have a this stupid background changing thing, because a computer already has this information and it just annoys humans). I think this is what you all try to tell me. So you try to make it difficult through the "task". Possible Tasks are for example:

  • Sum up the numbers when you hover with your mouse over the Captcha
  • Substract the Sum of the numbers when you hover over it, from the Sum of all numbers not hovering.
  • Write down all numbers for not hovering about the Captcha, but not the numbers who also appear on the hovered Captcha.

But this is easy parseable. Beside this, there is a finite possible combination of what you can do. And even if the computer can't parse the task, it can just randomly choose one and maybe is successful with a small percentage.

But you did not even attempt to do that.
Maybe trying to do it could be a good exercise, worth being published on GitHub.

So I'm very sorry, I can't do that. I'm just too stupid. But you seem to be really smart. Please give me an implementation, and I will break it for you.

@G-WAN

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G-WAN commented Jun 16, 2012

Dear Samuirai,

I'm just to stupid to understand

"It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair)

Let's have a look at the facts

Fine with me:

You have posted this same clueless rant a few dozens of times on GitHub (34 times says the GitHub search tool):

https://gist.github.com/gists/search?q=G-WAN+Captcha+Decode&x=0&y=0

And then you have spread the word on ycombinator.org, happily adding insults to injury, going as far as to accusing Ers35 (a long-term U.S.-based G-WAN user) of being G-WAN's author acting under a nickname (just because he demonstrated how far away from the point your critics felt).

Your friends might not have factored it, but each time they leave the ycombinator.org site for our site to seek a good word to quote-and-moke they leave their IP address in our log files. And this is quite embarrassing to see who they are working for.

In response to so much "good will" and "neutrality", I am sure that you can appreciate that no word was harmed in our reply to your so distinguished posts.

@Samuirai

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Samuirai commented Jun 16, 2012

What are you talking about?

You have posted this same clueless rant a few dozens of times on GitHub (34 times says the GitHub search tool):
https://gist.github.com/gists/search?q=G-WAN+Captcha+Decode&x=0&y=0

I've only written this Gist and these people just forked it. You should probably read about how github works and what a fork is.

[...] happily adding insults to injury and accusing Ers35 [...]

I haven't said anything about him. This was another user.

"It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair)

Check my Website please. And read what I wrote on the main page. I really want to learn new stuff. So please describe it to me. I really want to understand it :(

Your friends might not have factored it, but each time they leave the ycombinator.org site for our site to seek a good word to quote-and-moke they leave their IP address in our log files. And this is quite embarrassing to see who they are working for.

Oh... I just leave this here without a comment.

@G-WAN

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G-WAN commented Jun 16, 2012

Samuirai,

these people forked my gist

You will not comment on the relevance of 34 "forks" that take place:

  • at the same time used to publish the original,
  • without modification of the original contents.

In a well-established technology called "e-mail", that activity is classified as "S.P.A.M."

On a public media like GitHub, the expression "Fear Campaign" (or FUD) might be more appropriate:

http://thunderfeeds.com/reader/news/gwan-does-not-understand-forking-and-the-captcha-ignorance

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4120690

You are posting in real-time more FUD as this talk is going-on. At least you removed any doubt about your motivations.

@theckman

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theckman commented Jun 16, 2012

So I'll comment on the 34 forks. I just forked this gist to ensure I have a copy of the Python script if it were ever to be removed from this gist. I wonder, what is the realistic possibility that others have forked it for the same reason...?

@Samuirai

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Samuirai commented Jun 16, 2012

What you guys do is like a self DDoDs. I don't want to make a FUD. It was never my intention. The Captcha Decoding stuff was just funny. It also says nothing about your webserver. I asked several times, if somebody can describe the Captcha you thought about - but I got no answer.
A fork is a private copy. And they just copied the gist, because they want to have their copy. It was also the first time submitting soemthing to Hacker News. I didn't expect, that somebody would actually read it. But it turned out, that many people have a sinking feeling about G-WAN. It was just salt into the wound. Instead of avoiding the technical discussion about the Captcha you could be more transparent and openminded - this is how online marketing works.

The main problem is, that my english is not that rethorical strong. But I thought it's clear, that my uncouth sentences are stylistic devices to make the topic more funny.

@pyalot

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pyalot commented Jun 16, 2012

@Samuirai trolling an implementor of a captcha algorithm is pointless (trolling is pointless, but I digress), write an exploit, publish, bask in the knowledge of furthering spam research.

@G-WAN don't feed the trolls, also, don't troll.

@me, I should not have participated in this unproductive discussion.

@AJenbo

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AJenbo commented Oct 30, 2012

The captcha also requires that the human is able of a bit of math.

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