Project - Diary of work

This Project is based on creating an authentication system for the University Intranet using a CAPTCHA. The CAPTCHA will be based on a grid of number (0-9) and the grid is of the size 4x4. The name of the project is called CAPTCHA SAM because it uses the mathematical equations Subtraction, Addition and Multiplication. In addition I aim to help against brute force attacks and denial of service.

07 April 2008
I have completed the software side of this and my current work can be found:
Site 1 -
Site 2 -

I have setup some user accounts. For anyone with an individual account, please use site 1. I will try to copy the accounts over to the University (students web server) on a weekly basis. Please do not overload my actual website with vulnerbility attacking software. This will use of most of my monthly bandwidth quota very quickly. If you do want to test it to the extreme, please ask me first. If I agree to it, I can inform the hosting company in advance.

I am currently at the stage of writing feedback questions and this is not as easy as it looks. I have a third version of questions and will check this with Chi soon. In the next week (if not the end of this one) I plan to send out lots of invites to test the system and hopefully receive feedback. This will help me greatly in the final year report, so please help me out. It will hopefully take you no longer than 5 minutes to complete the feedback form (including optional comments).

08 April 2008
After looking at the database and FAQ I found that a moderator will be inviewing me this week or next. As a result I have been working on the Execute Summary today. I aim to research information on CAPTCHA downsides and add to my feedback form today.

09 April 2008
Today I took a slightly difference approach. Instead of looking at the feedback, I decided that taking a step away meant that I would see this clearer if I concentrate on another part of the project. Today I have created a new Gantt Chart to show what I have actually done (up to today). This chart looks different to the planned version. I feel this may be my downfall in the marking as I'm not so good at the planning side. There are some tasks added and some tasks moved forward (thanks to working hard over the holidays). Hopefully I will see Chi on Friday to discuss this further.

I decided to implement an SQL table to grab my feedback ratings. This will save me so much time that would be needed going through mass numbers of emails. I am still using the emails as a backup of everyones responses. I have also planned a few things for next week (whilst I am receiving feedback from all you nice people). Tomorrow I hope to finish my research into CAPTCHA's and add more questions.

13 April 2008
On Friday I found a vulnerability with the Intranet. The only people that know are me and Chi. I will inform Phil on Monday. Hopefully it will be fixed soon. As this site viewable by all, I won't post the information on here as someone may use it and I would be accountable. For the case of Chi and my Moderator, the information is documented in my logbook (11th and 13th April).

After reading up an ebrary article on surveys I can honestly say that it is really useful. This is viewable to all Portsmouth University students and a copy of the link can be found on my reference list.

17 April 2008
Over the last couple of days I have been gathering participants to assist with the sample data collection of my feedback form. There have been some useful responses that have helped me change a few things on the website before I publish the public test. One of the questions needed rewording as it does not relate to staff. If anyone reads this blog, I'd like to thank everyone who has participated and who does so in the larger scale survey in the next couple of days. Ideally over 100 responses is the aim, so please do help.

Before the public testing commences, another test will be carried out with 2-3 people, making sure the help section informs the user what they need to do (without me informing them in person).

22 April 2008
Yesterday I posted a link to the website where the login page is located. It is up and running and slowly people are leaving feedback. I noticed a couple of people logged in and just left. Maybe the navigation is an issue? This morning I decided to add a link at the top of the "user home" page and hopefully people will read it. In total 6 people have left feedback in the first 24hrs (not including people I know and the sample testers). If I can get that amount everyday I will honestly be happy. It's not easy to get people to help. Thanks to everyone that has helped (or are about to).

Please visit the University forums for site and user account details -

Athens does not work all the time. I managed to login Monday PM and read up further on the book Power of Surveys (link 10 on references section). More reading planned for today, along with some of the report.

27 April 2008
On Monday a link to the login page was posted. Suddenly large numbers of traffic appeared. Up to now I have received 56 feedback replies. This time last week I only had 15. 80 is the bare minimum. I will add links in the Year 1 and Year 2 new sections of the forum and later this week harass the staff that have not helped. I want to get as many staff involved (bare mininum of 10) to represent the department. I have also past 12 pages in the report and past 80 of an ebrary link (see references). More work is needed (alot more on Monday / Tuesday). After more complaints from so called mates (thanks for being a pain, but it does help), I have redesigned the help section yesterday. By separating the content into smaller pages, it should not look "too wordy" (quote by Richard).

We got our presentation date and times. I am 5th out of 9. I have made 5 slides to go through my work. I will be checking with Chi on the content of this and report in Mondays meeting. Thanks to everyone that has helped with feedback. If you have not done so yet, please do so. Link - Forum Post.

01 May 2008
Since last time I have managed to add to the final report and created my presentation. Work on the weekend will to be practice it out loud. I have managed to organise a practice section with 4-8 people for next week. We will all have a turn and treat it like the real thing. The only difference will be that if anyone overruns, they will not be stopped. This way we all know the exact timings and whether to increase or decrease the content. Hopefully this will help remove the bad points in each others presentation and add to the quality where some content was missed out.

The current feedback has reached 70 (7 staff and 63 students). I would like to push this to 80 and there are a few people I will have to encourage to help out. Hopefully another 2-3 this week would help this target hughly. I really don't expect much help next week. The rest of the weeks focus is on research. References will be key to the report later on.

05 May 2008
With the presentations arrising, I have been practicing my speach today and have got to the 9 minute mark. I have not managed a constant flow of speach just yet, but still have a week before the real thing. On Wednesday 7th May I will be able to practice my presentation in front of some friends. Hopefully we should all be able to help each other improve each others presentations. After discussions, the cut off period will be 15 minutes. Anyone with a longer presentation will need to re-think their presentation.

Feedback form - at the moment I have had 72 feedbacks from the questionnaire. I will try to push this to 75.

07 May 2008
Today me a 8 others practiced our presentations. I was pleased with the turn out and the presentations went well. I received some useful feedback. This will take up to 30mins to sort out before the day. I have made some ideas of improvements in my logbook. My presentation is just over 8 minutes 30 seconds long. This is after knowing it well. I should get it past 9mins again.

Feedback update - currently on 81 with 15 staff. I am very pleased as 2 days ago I only had 9 staff feedbacks. Least this represents a staff view now. I will set the new aim of 85 for the final total. I surpassed my 75 aim and am happy with whatever happends from now on with it.

The research is slowly getting to a close. The worrying thing is writing it up. Ideally by Friday the research is done and I can give myself 3 weeks on the report. It's going to be tough. I don't want to fall behind now. Only 3 weeks, but 3 weeks of intense pressure.

11 May 2008
Since Friday I have reached 86 feedback replies. I am very pleased with the total so far. I don't expect to get 100, but will try to push the 90 mark on Monday. The presentation is in tweaking mode. The research is not complete yet. I did not do any research on Friday, however I plan to and hope to complete it by end of Tuesday (around presentations). After that is complete the feedback needs "cleaning" (sorting out).

Over this weekend I have found more annoyances in IE6 where CSS 2.1 code is not working. This pain has taken time out of me and I have managed to get a working solution. This means that the website will display slightly different for IE6 users. Anyone using IE5 or less, please move to Opera.

14 May 2008
Today the plan is "cleaning" the data. The way I'm doing this is creating a form (similar to feedback form) that converts the values 1-5 to the actual responses, so that I don't misread any answers. Any answers that don't link with other questions I will mark down and take a percentage of feedbacks that look like they could be investigated. I don't plan alter records as i'm not an advanced "cleaner" and will document this in the report.

Hopefully this afternoon I will total all answers and start the report again. I'll worry about fancy graphs or charts later on. Most likely I could end up with Bar Charts as I'm comparing student and staff responses (as a percents).

16 May 2008
Over the last couple of days I have read through all the feedback (90 responses - 20 staff and 70 students) and collated the feedback results. I'm pleased to see some good responses and will analyse the results in depth in my report. Apart from some tweaks on the website, I can concentrate on the report. The aim is to complete it in 10-14 days. This maybe optimistic by some, but the last week it supposed to be a contingency for any issues I face anywhere in the project. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?

18 May 2008
Due to issues with my hosting company, I am no longer using my domain name. I have created a new one with a different company. The post (below) on the 7th April has been updated with the new URL. I have spent the last few hours testing my personal website and some of my project website. So far all the bugs have gone. If anyone finds any bugs on the website please use the "contact me", thanks.

22 May 2008
The report has been converted from 1st person to 3rd person this week. This takes a while to do and I would recommend another person just to go straight to third person. The report now totals 7000 words and the aim is to complete it by Tue / Wed next week. This way it can be hopefully checked a couple of times with updates before the deadline (hint hint Chi). The final feedback total is now 93 responses (21 staff and 72 students).

27 May 2008
The report is about 60% complete and probably has lots of grammer mistakes. However there are now 10,000 words and I expect another 2-3,000. The analysis is the biggest and most important part. The the aim is to add to it in the next few days. The Gantt chart was messy and looking over the work throughout the project, this has tidied up. Any tweaks on this will now be minor.

The total feedback is now 94 (an extra student feedback was added). Any more feedback will not be added to the report as it's over a week late. The comments would be useful if there are any.

29 May 2008
Amazingly I've wrote alot since the last count. Looking back at this page 4,000 more words is a total in 2 days. It does not sound like much, but when writing this report, it's slow and steady progress. If you are reading this (for future years), take note that it takes ages. The structure of the report is in place. There are still a few sections that need writing up. There is still lots to write up using both (yes 2) logbooks. Hopefully if I can write this well, I will get a good result, if not I fear the worst. The report is going to be pre-read so I hope that good information comes from it (I know it will with Chi).

31 May 2008
Past References from my logbook can be found here. Some of this will come in handy for the Literature Review.

04 June 2008
All the work was handed in today. This included two logbooks, a report and a CD of all the website. Tomorrow is about completing the poster and making sure that the website works on the computer at University. I have got a 2nd moderator and will meet him tomorrow afternoon. I hope Chi enjoys reading the report.

06 June 2008
Project Day was good and bad. The morning was quiet at first but later on it got busier. I managed to speak to a group of 3 people from industry at one stage. See images in the Intranet as proof -
They are: Image 1 and Image 2 (Copyright Portsmouth University 2008).

I thought this was quite impressive and even more so thanks to Victor Dunn and Chi Nguyen being in the room at the time :) Thanks for that you two. I managed to attract interest with my math question on the poster. To see a copy of the poster, you can download it using the following link: Project Poster

Even though no one will contact me afterwards, I managed to put the word out about my project to 10 visitors between 10.30 and 13.00. Now with the project over at University, some of the work will progress over the next few years. I will start this in the next few weeks. If I say something beforehand, someone will steal the idea off me.

14 June 2008
The Final Report is on Mosaic and this website. It does not contain images or table layouts as this could take an hour or two to correct. A PDF may be available at a further date. Please be patient for the page to be public. Thank you. I hope those of you that read this project find it useful and maybe you want to CAPTCHA SAM or CAPTCHA MARS (Multiplication, Addition, Remainder, Subtraction) in the next couple of years. More information on further work can be found on my Project Website, by contacting me (using the contact form) or by speaking to Chi as he will receive the progress of future developments.

23 June 2008 - Project Continuation work
Now that I have completed my degree, this does not mean the project has finished. In fact, this is just the beginning. I have started to create a website and this is about creating easier CAPTCHAs that are easier to you and me to read and work out. All the CAPTCHAs on the website will be free to download and you can create a CAPTCHA of your own and share it with the community. This is to give CAPTCHAs a good name whereas some website like RapidShare are making them more annoying and making the public hate them more and more. Please visit the website and let me know what you think. Thank you.

If you would like to get in touch about the project, the website, the survey or the future work I plan to carry out, please feel free to contact me and I will normally reply back within 24 hours. Thanks you.