May 14, 2016 How do I log in, and “I am not a robot” – what is this thing?

Overview

We use tools to help us ensure that you’re not an automated computer hacking program trying to gain access to our site (when they attack us, your account gets suspended).

Many sites on the internet are attacked by malicious computer programs, who try to break in to the site and steal information (or, just do it so frequently that site stops working, because it cannot handle 10,000 login attempts per second). Mostly, this is performed by children, and is simply a modern form of vandalism.

So, to ensure the website stays operational for paying customers, we use tools that “under the hood” can tell if it’s a human completing the login form, or a computer program trying to fill it (trying many different combinations of usernames and passwords). We use Google’s Invisible NoCaptcha reCaptcha system – it’s widely used, well supported and works on all devices.

Google have a help page for reCaptcha users (we’re using Invisible reCAPTCHA V2).

Normal operation

Normally, logging in is quite simple, as you see on many web pages on the internet.

ABOVE: When logging in, enter (1) your username, and (2) your password.  (3) shows this is protected by Google’s reCaptcha system – no action needs to be taken. (4) you probably want the site and your browser to remember you, so you do not have to log in again each time you visit. (4) Click log in.

 

 

The website thinks for a few seconds, then you’re logged in (assuming you entered the correct username and password! If not, you’ll need to try again).

Extended operation

If the system think you might be a “robot” (or it detects something suspicious, such as logging in the first time, or logging in from a different computer), the system may ask you an additional challenge, to identify some images, something like this:

captcha additional verification

In the above example, the user is asked to identify all the images that contain flowers (1). So, the user should click once on images that contain flowers – (2), (3), (4), and (5), then click the “Verify” button, (6). Once verified, clock the “Login” button – if your password and username were entered correctly, you’ll be logged in to the site.

It’s no problem if you miss an item, select too many items, or select a wrong item – you’ll just be asked to solve a slightly different puzzle. If the current puzzle is too difficult (for example, you cannot determine what the images are of), you can click the Refresh button (labelled (8) in the image above), to load a new puzzle. If you cannot see the images clearly enough, there’s also an audio version – see below for more info, Trouble seeing the images?.

Sometimes, reCAPTCHA offers different challenges, for example:

recaptcha alternat operation 2

In the example above, we’re asked to “decode” the partially hidden street number (1).

Then, we’d simply type the number (2) – 3316, in this case, then click Verify (3).

Maybe this challenge is too difficult? It’s always fine to have a go, it’s no problem if you get it wrong. Or, you can click the Reload button (4), to be shown a different challenge.

Here’s another example of a different mode of operation:

captcha variant 3

We need to identify all the squares that show some street signage (your challenge will be different to this one). So, we select (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) then click Verify.

Extended-Plus operation

Occasionally, the system may ask you to select more than 3 to 5 images that match – each time you select an image, it replaces it with another image that may or may not match the requirement. This may require up to 12 clicks, though 8 is more common.

There’ll be a message in red like this, (Multiple correct solutions required – please solve more):

captcha multiple items reqd

Another variation, the system can show you one large picture broken up into a mosaic, and ask you to select parts of the image that match certain criteria.

Trouble seeing what the the images are? Try a different set.

There is a button to request a new set of images, that may be clearer for you. Simply click the reload button:

captcha reload

All the images confusing? Try audio instead.

If you have trouble seeing all images, the computer can instead speak a series of five numbers, and you type them in.

When asked to identify images, click the “headphones” icon.

audio captcha

audio captcha part 2

(1) Press Play. Listen for the numbers being spoken slowly. (2) Type the numbers. (3) Click Verify. Once the verification is passed, click Login to complete the sign-in process.

Not working right? Try bypassing the cache.

To speed things up and conserve communications bandwidth, web browsers attempt to keep copies on your computer of pages, images, and other content you’ve visited, so that it need not be downloaded again later.

While this usually works well, occasionally this caching scheme goes awry (e.g. your browser insists on showing out-of-date content) making it necessary to bypass the cache, thus forcing your browser to re-download a web page’s complete, up-to-date content.

This may resolve issues you’re experiencing with the “I’m not a robot” function. To bypass the cache, it’s a little different depending on browser and operating system.

bypass chache

See http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/home/ for more help on this. The page will reload, and appear the same, but it may work correctly now.

Once the cache has been bypassed, try logging in to the site again, of course responding to the “I am not a robot” thing correctly. If it works now, please let us know, so we can pass this tip on to more people?

Still not working right?

Try using a different web browser (for example, if you’re using Internet Explorer, try Chrome. If you’re using Chrome, try Firefox). If it works well for you, it’s likely there is a caching issue on the original browser – try bypassing your cache again, described above. We support all modern web browsers.

If what you experience is different to what we described above, and bypassing your cache did not help, please describe exactly what you see, make a screen capture of it (help for Windows 7, 8 and 10, Help for Mac OSX), and email the screen shot and your description to support@abbywinters.com.

Will get back to you in under 24 business hours. Be sure to check your spam filter – sometimes messages from us are marked as Spam. 🙁