State University of New York Institute of Technology
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reCAPTCHA support for SUNYIT forms

We've recently integrated support for Google's reCAPTCHA service with SUNYIT's form software in an attempt to stem the flow of spam that is being sent through forms on the SUNYIT web site that use SUNYIT's form software.

To tell if a given form uses SUNYIT's form software and may be protected by this upgrade, check out the URL of the form--if it has a 'www.sunyit.edu/apps/form/' in it, then it will be protected by reCAPTCHA shortly. 

Forms that are created through Google Forms / Google Docs are not included in this update.

Google's reCAPTCHA service works by presenting the user of a form with an image of several words.  In order to submit the form, the user needs to type the words from the image into a field on the form.  If you've used SUNYIT's Gmail service, you needed to enter a CAPTCHA in order to activate your account.

CAPTCHAs, in general, are Completely Automated Public Turing to tell Computers and Humans Apart tests that prevent computer programs from submitting spam through online forms. 

No CAPTCHA test is foolproof and it's likely that some spam will continue to be submitted through SUNYIT's forms.  Moreover, if an actual human is on the other end of the connection sending the spam, they may be able to properly submit the CAPTCHA so as to send the spam through.  Having to submit the CAPTCHA, however, will likely slow them down and possibly discourage them from submitting the form.

In order to allow individuals for whom a visual test may prove problematic to submit reCAPTCHA-protected forms, reCAPTCHA provides a button to provide an alternative, audio-based test.  There is also a reload / try new image button which, should a particular image prove too difficult to read, supply a new image to try.

When this update is published to our production web environment, all forms will automatically be protected with no intervention required by form users or web developers. 

Each form, on a form-by-form basis, can have the reCAPTCHA disabled for that particular form by, in the opening stanza of each form's configuration file, setting 'norecaptcha = true'.  You're also welcome to put in a ticket into the Web Services queue in RT to have your forms' recaptcha support disabled.

For more information on reCAPTCHA, please check out the following links:

Thanks.

Wes


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