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Staff/Faculty: Excessive ReCAPTCHA with Outlook Web App

Three professors examine medical charts on a desktop computer.

Published November 16, 2017

If you're a faculty or staff member using the Outlook Web App (, you may have recently been asked to select ReCAPTCHA photos such as cars an excessive number of times before being able to log into UBmail. It’s a known problem, and UBIT is working on a solution.


What's going on?

ReCAPTCHA is a security feature provided by Google used across the Internet to prevent software programs from attempting to guess your password.

By asking you to complete a series of simple and intuitive tasks, such as selecting photos of cars, store fronts and street signs, ReCAPTCHA can confirm that you are a not a robot.

Recent reports suggest that the number of tasks being asked of UB faculty and staff have become abnormally high, and UBIT is working with Google on resolving the problem.

We're on it

As ReCAPTCHA is provided by Google, UBIT has limited control over its verification process.

UBIT staff are exploring several options to make the process easier, including adjusting some internal settings, and upgrading to a new version—which promises to be significantly less demanding—as soon as it becomes available.

UBIT will also continue to update the campus community on this problem as more information becomes available.

Not a security concern

While the increasingly demanding ReCAPTCHA process may be an automated response to an increase in compromised accounts, there is no direct correlation between compromised accounts and the number of ReCAPTCHA requests.

This means that, if you’ve been asked to complete excessive ReCAPTCHA requests, it is not an indicator that your account has been compromised.

Get help

For help logging in to UB services, or for any other tech-related problems, visit the UBIT Help Center Online at You can also call 716-645-3542, or visit our locations in the Lockwood 2nd Floor Cybrary or Abbott Health Sciences Library 1st Floor.