What's New in Software News
In this roundup of what’s new in interesting software news, read how a group of developers at San Francisco-based Vicarious created vision-recognition software that can solve CAPTCHAs. Also, news emerged that the recent hacking of Adobe Systems was worse than originally reported.
New Vision-Recognition Software Cracks CAPTCHAs
Oh, the blasted CAPTCHA! I recognize the need for security protocols to protect us from sneaky spammers and the like, but I can’t count how many times I’ve had to guess at the increasingly difficult text only to fail and start over. But where my puny human brain crashes at shape recognition, the staff at San Francisco-based Vicarious “is working on teaching software to develop a sense of vision,” as Popular Science reports.
According to Dileep George, one of the company's founders, Vicarious used its software to crack CAPTCHAs because those spambot checks are “representative of many of the problems you see in general perception." So far, the company claims a 90 percent success rate in solving CAPTCHAs, and researchers quoted in the article deem the company’s creation a success when it comes to advancing the field of artificial intelligence.
From Popular Science:
The software uses machine learning, a technique pioneered [in the] 1980s in which programmers "teach" their programs concepts such as the shape of the letter A by feeding the program thousands of examples of the letter A. The idea is that it may be too hard to explain to a computer what an A is in a few lines of code... but the computer could nevertheless figure things out for itself with enough training data.
Adobe Systems Hack Worse Than Previously Reported
Remember a few weeks ago when news emerged that Adobe Systems was the victim of a serious hack? Well, it turns out the hacking was worse than what Adobe first detailed.
The New York Times writes that hackers were able to seize personal data "for tens of millions more customers than was previously reported." As of now, Adobe has acknowledged that more than 38 million records of stolen data in the form of usernames and passwords are now in the hands of hackers.
On the black market, The Times reports that "a single password can fetch $20."
From The New York Times:
To crack passwords, hackers regularly exploit extensive online databases of common passwords and as many as 50 million so-called hash values. Others will use "rainbow tables," which list encrypted values for nearly every alphanumeric character combination up to a certain length.
For a handy analysis of the recent attacks and what they mean for the industry as a whole, AT&T’s Tech Channel on YouTube posted a discussion among some security experts who talk about the dangers of leaked source code on the Internet. The panel begins talking about Adobe Systems at 7:26.