Cybercrime never stops. In many countries during the COVID-19 crysis, people must use messaging apps like WhatsApp to keep in touch with their loved ones without having direct contact with them. Because of this sudden spike in the use of these kinds of services, hackers trying to steal user identities by forwarding and sending scam links on messaging app groups have drastically increase. Our team is developing an app that specifically tries to mitigate the frequency of this phenomenon.
What problem does WhyLink try to solve? When messaging app users chat in groups the number of unread messages may be high. While reading long chat messages, the average user may grow mentally tired and lower its own overall concentration when discerning scam links from legitimate ones. Because interactions in messaging apps are instantaneous, sometimes users may not check the validity of links correctly, which could possibly lead to stumble upon a scam link. Our app tries to flag which links are scams and which are not while using a messaging app on an Android mobile device.
What does the solution bring to the table? This project plans to develop an app compatible with Android devices which verifies links by checking scam related DNS Blacklists (DNSBL). The tool to program the app is Android Studio and the version API of Android is low so to make the app compatible with as many Android devices as possible. The app's user interface in the prototype is fairly simple, consisting of a single button component that when pressed activates the link checking service. In the future, new useful features such as a checked link history panel could be added, resulting in having a richer and more complex UI.
What impact does this solution have during the current covid-19 crysis? This app tries to reduce the frequency of successful online scams in a time where remote communication is used more than ever before. Since remote-communication is the only way to safely communicate with other people right now, our project could raise the reliability of these services without modifying them directly and without threatening anyone's privacy.
What does the project need in order to continue? There are no specific immediate needs for the continuation of the project, however testers may prove to be important during the next development phases.
What is the value of the solution after the current covid-19 crysis? While this is certainly the most busiest and stressing times for remote communication services, automating the link verification process from a user perspective may be considered valuable at any point in time, even after the current crysis.
What has been done so far? Our team is developing the prototype of the described Android app. You will be able to find it on PartyPointer's GitHub page when it is ready.