How To Handle CAPTCHA Using Selenium Web Driver

How to handle CAPTCHA using Selenium Web Driver

The CAPTCHA, short for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart,” is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human. The main purpose of the CAPTCHA is to prevent bots or automated programs from using various types of computing services or collecting certain types of sensitive information. In other words, it is a security feature of the application which generally prevents bots from filling.

Automation engineers across the world have been trying to find ways to achieve complete automation of web pages, but CAPTCHA has so far been a hindrance in achieving this goal.

Numerous engineers have come up with different ways to automate CAPTCHA, but the reason they’ve been unsuccessful so far and that is due to the change in CAPTCHA’s form from visual to audio, and drag and drop, among others.

Intended to defeat automated programs like Selenium, getting around CAPTCHAs is difficult by design. Typically, one has to configure the website in certain ways in order to disable the CAPTCHA for testing purpose. Though this helps automate the test in a smoother way, it compromises the application’s security.

So how do we automate CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA can be automated if you’re able to decode the image using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). For that, you’ll need to write complex algorithms to sort out the image pattern – and one has to be an expert in image pattern mapping as well. But images, with the passage of time, have become progressively more unreadable, thereby reducing the chances of CAPTCHA automation.

That leaves one way to bypass CAPTCHA, but it won’t automate it. The user will have to enter the CAPTCHA text himself, while other fields will be filled automatically. Using this, automation engineers can achieve the target of complete web automation to a certain degree.

The only way is using the WAIT command. Use wait and enter CAPTCHA manually while the script is in wait.

WebDriverWait wait = new WebDriverWait );
{ return d.FindElement ; // here we can use any locator that identifies a successful / unsuccessful login });

The above mentioned ways are the only verified ways to handle CAPTCHA using Selenium Web Driver. Therefore, it is now very much clear that not everything can (or should) be automated, and CAPTCHA is one example where manual testing is still needed. Simply put, if there are any other ways to handle CAPTCHA in Selenium, then the CAPTCHA is broken and pretty much useless!

CAPTCHAs are typically introduced to combat security and usability issues. They were initially introduced to improve the overall security of web applications but over the passage of time, they’ve only raised additional security concerns for businesses. If it is extremely necessary to use them, they should be implemented in such a way that allows them to be turned on and off. They can be turned off until they are necessary.

A security testing company can play a vital role in making the best of CAPTCHas by using tests that are interesting for users to solve. Instead of matching images, users can be given a simple and interactive task to ensure that the user is a human. Some businesses tend to advertise parts of their business in this process. Moreover, CAPTCHAs are not the only way to stop bots and other automated tools. To confirm if a user is human, the site can allow them to identify themselves with an existing account. For instance, they can log-in to their existing Google or Yahoo account to prove that they are not bots.

CAPTCHAs have their own drawbacks, and companies shouldn’t enable them without good reason.  There are other options available to ensure that a user on their website is a human. No matter what you decide for your site, it’s important not to forget that CAPTCHAs don’t have a firewall that can be enabled by default for all applications.