Snapchat now makes sure you're a real person

The photo-sharing site offers a new twist to the standard captcha to ensure you're not a bot looking to harvest user information.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Pick the images with the ghosts, and you're in.
Pick the images with the ghosts, and you're in. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

New users who sign up for Snapchat now are presented with a ghostly puzzle to prove their humanity.

After registering with an e-mail address, password, and birth date, you're presented with a set of nine tiles, some with Snapchat's familiar ghost mascot and some without.

Your challenge is to tap on the images with the ghosts. Do it successfully, and you gain entry. Otherwise, Snapchat denies your request and prompts you to keep trying.

This latest security measure comes in the wake of the recent snafu that revealed the names and partial phone numbers of 4.6 million accounts. Since that incident, Snapchat has been trying to shore up various security holes to prevent the same problem from popping up again.

Earlier this month, the company launched an update to its iOS and Android apps requiring new users to verify their phone numbers before accessing the Find Friends feature. The update also lets Snapchatters choose not to link their phone numbers with their usernames.

The rollout of the new captcha feature follows the efforts of a 16-year-old hacker who texted Snapchat CTO Bobby Murphy about the site's ongoing vulnerabilities. The hacker uncovered Murphy's phone number after exploiting one of those vulnerabilities.

Snapchat's captcha is certainly a step in the right direction. But how long will it take an enterprising hacker to find a way past this latest security measure?

(Via TechCrunch)