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War with Google

A couple of months ago, our office was suddenly thrown into turmoil when Google decided to go to war with us. Our identities were at stake: Google was sure that the office consisted only of robots - but we desperately cleared every CAPTCHA in an attempt to maintain neutrality and assure Google we were indeed human. Since then there has been a war of attrition in which my patience has been worn thin. I've decided to go on the offensive and see if anything can be done.

The facts:

  • We've had no problem with CAPTCHA until about 2 months ago. At that time, everyone in the office suddenly noticed that almost every single google search was requesting the user to complete CAPTCHA .

  • The CAPTCHA method has gotten worse as well: The first week or so, we only got checkboxes to tick. Then we got the images gallery to choose the right images from. Now it's even worse: first we get a jumble of letters to type into a box and submit, then we get images to pick from, and lastly a checkbox.

  • The CAPTCHA occurs constantly. It's not every single google search, but very frequent, every 5 mins or so. I think it may depend on how many requests the office submits as a whole.

  • Most people here use Chrome, I use Vivaldi, and some people use Edge as their browser. All get CAPTCHA's.

  • The issue occurs for everyone using google search as far as I have found out.

  • The office is on a fibre network, 200Mbps up/down and low latency. About 50% of the computers use VPN, which still has the issue.

  • The CAPTCHA issue also occurs on smartphone if connected to wifi.

  • However it does not occur when using an incognito window.

I personally use Vivaldi browser which is built on Chromium and I'm not keen to change because I'm very happy with it. It's the best browser I've used so far. My observations would also indicate that this isn't browser dependent as it's happening across the office. However, as an incognito window will foil the CAPTCHA, it seems possible that the browser can affect it in some way?

Question:

I'm after anything that can help solve this, will appreciate any advice given. It really isn't practical to use an incognito window all the time. Is there a workaround to skip CATPCHA? or a fix? Could a free VPN fix this? Can I change the standard headers that my browser submits to match those from an incognito window? Put my traffic through a TOR proxy (yeah desperate times call for desperate measures).

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    Nice try skin job
    – Gantendo
    Jun 28 at 7:07
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    Can you switch IPs? Can you check if there is a malware infection somewhere in your network? Usually when you remove the malware things go back to normal after a couple of days. Do not use TOR
    – Gantendo
    Jun 28 at 7:08
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    uhm - assuming y'all use the same IP, that might indicate some system in your network is compromised and google considers your IP suspecious
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jun 28 at 7:11
  • All would be same IP, yep. No malware as far as I know but that's the obvious answer... I'll do some searching online to see how to find out... ahh, that might take a while actually :)
    – 5Diraptor
    Jun 28 at 7:15
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    If one person has malware installed, the entire IP could be "punished" for it. Run MalwareBytes Free on all computers.
    – Gantendo
    Jun 28 at 7:19

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