Online communication platforms face security and privacy challenges, especially in broad ecosystems, such as online social networks, where users are unfamiliar with each other. Consequently, employing trust management systems is crucial to ensuring the trustworthiness of participants, and thus, the content they share in the network. WhatsApp is one of the most popular message-based online social networks with over one billion users worldwide. Therefore, it is considered an attractive platform for cybercriminals who spread malware to gain unauthorized access to users’ accounts to steal their data or corrupt the system. None of the few trust management systems proposed in the online social network literature have considered WhatsApp as a use case. To this end, this paper introduces WhatsTrust, a trust management system for WhatsApp that evaluates the trustworthiness of users. A trust value accompanies each message to help the receiver make an informed decision regarding how to deal with the message. WhatsTrust is extensively evaluated through a strictly controlled empirical evaluation framework with two well-established trust management systems, namely EigenTrust and trust network analysis with subjective logic (TNA-SL) algorithms, as benchmarks. The experimental results demonstrate WhatsTrust’s dominance with respect to the success rate and execution time.
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