- A virtual stripper is helping to defeat anti-spam security checks.
Spammers have created a Windows game which shows a woman in a state of undress when people correctly type in text shown in an accompanying image.
The scrambled text images come from sites which use them to stop computers automatically signing up for accounts that can be put to illegal use.
By getting people to type in the text the spammers can take over the accounts and use them to send junk mail.
The scrambled text systems used to defeat automatic sign-ups are known as Captchas or "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".
Typically they feature a disfigured word or one overlaid with artefacts that make it difficult for anyone but a human to decipher.
Many computer criminals have been trying to crack these systems to get at the net-based resources, such as e-mail accounts or blogging tools, they are designed to protect.
"The free e-mail services, so far, have been extremely successful at using Captchas to recognise a human being or an automatic program," said Raimund Genes, chief technology officer at Trend Micro.
The novel system for getting round Captchas uses images of a woman called "melissa" who invites...