Reid Tatoris

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Private Access Tokens: eliminating CAPTCHAs on iPhones and Macs with open standards

Private Access Tokens: eliminating CAPTCHAs on iPhones and Macs with open standards

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Private Access Tokens: eliminating CAPTCHAs on iPhones and Macs with open standards

Today we’re announcing Private Access Tokens, a completely invisible, private way to validate that real users are visiting your site. Visitors using operating systems that support these tokens, including the upcoming versions of macOS or iOS, can now prove they’re human without completing a CAPTCHA or giving up personal data. This will eliminate nearly 100% of CAPTCHAs served to these users.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re an Internet user:

  • We’re making your mobile web experience more pleasant and more private than other networks at the same time.
  • You won’t see a CAPTCHA on a supported iOS or Mac device (other devices coming soon!) accessing the Cloudflare network.

If you’re a web or application developer:

  • Know your user is coming from an authentic device and signed application, verified by the device vendor directly.
  • Validate users without maintaining a cumbersome SDK.

If you’re a Cloudflare customer:

  • You don’t have to do anything!  Cloudflare will automatically ask for and utilize Private Access Tokens
  • Your visitors won’t see a CAPTCHA, and we’ll ask for less data from their devices.

Introducing Private Access Tokens

Over the past year, Cloudflare has collaborated Continue reading

Cloudflare customers are protected from the Atlassian Confluence CVE-2022-26134

Cloudflare customers are protected from the Atlassian Confluence CVE-2022-26134
Cloudflare customers are protected from the Atlassian Confluence CVE-2022-26134

On June 02, 2022 Atlassian released a security advisory for their Confluence Server and Data Center applications, highlighting a critical severity unauthenticated remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability is as CVE-2022-26134 and affects Confluence Server version 7.18.0 and all Confluence Data Center versions >= 7.4.0.

No patch is available yet but Cloudflare customers using either WAF or Access are already protected.

Our own Confluence nodes are protected by both WAF and Access, and at the time of writing, we have found no evidence that our Confluence instance was exploited.

Cloudflare reviewed the security advisory, conducted our own analysis, and prepared a WAF mitigation rule via an emergency release. The rule, once tested, was deployed on June 2, 2022, at 23:38 UTC with a default action of BLOCK and the following IDs:

  • 100531 (for our legacy WAF)
  • 408cff2b  (for our new WAF)

All customers using the Cloudflare WAF to protect their self-hosted Confluence applications have automatically been protected since the new rule was deployed.

Customers who have deployed Cloudflare Access in front of their Confluence applications were protected from external exploitation attempts even before the emergency release. Access verifies every request made to a Confluence application to Continue reading

The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs

The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs
The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs

There is no point in rehashing the fact that CAPTCHA provides a terrible user experience. It's been discussed in detail before on this blog, and countless times elsewhere. One of the creators of the CAPTCHA has publicly lamented that he “unwittingly created a system that was frittering away, in ten-second increments, millions of hours of a most precious resource: human brain cycles.” We don’t like them, and you don’t like them.

So we decided we’re going to stop using CAPTCHAs. Using an iterative platform approach, we have already reduced the number of CAPTCHAs we choose to serve by 91% over the past year.

Before we talk about how we did it, and how you can help, let's first start with a simple question.

Why in the world is CAPTCHA still used anyway?

If everyone agrees CAPTCHA is so bad, if there have been calls to get rid of it for 15 years, if the creator regrets creating it, why is it still widely used?

The frustrating truth is that CAPTCHA remains an effective tool for differentiating real human users from bots despite the existence of CAPTCHA-solving services. Of course, this comes with a huge trade off in terms Continue reading