Anyone Fluent in L33t speak?

I went to verify some information to complete my account registration with an office supply store. The last item looked like this

I initially thought that if it is a word, it must be l33t speak, but ahh, Google Translate to the rescue!

I don’t know what 443xje5 means in French or English, but the office supply web site assures me it is a word. I decided to try another “word” and my “word” was hanbbtz, which Google translate informed me was German. The next “word” ymjzhk turns out to be Italian and M4lbph is simply English. Wow, what a multi-lingual captcha program the site has!

I’m not making fun of Google translate, the program was never designed to provide meaningful responses to inane requests. The point really is that much of the confusion in computerland is due to the sloppy use of words that do not accurately describe what things are or what is wanted. The office supply store did not want word verifiaction, they wanted character verification. A word is a collection of characters that has meaning, although based upon the varying interpretations of when the Rapture will be I can’t say that words always have a specific meaning.

In a future post I will show why I think this sometimes encourages people to use the same password in multiple places, even when it was not what they intended to do!

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education
Cyber Threat Analysis Center
ESET North America

Author ESET Research, ESET

One Response to “Anyone Fluent in L33t speak?”

  1. Ange says:

    AFAIR google use statistics on trigrams to detect the language – it has nothing to do with dictionary lookups, nor existing words.

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