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Clicking with Confidence: Whag's Co-Founder Cody Robertson Shares His Story

Whag Team

October 20, 2023

Clicking with Confidence: Whag's Co-Founder Cody Robertson Shares His Story

In today's digital age, the importance of link security cannot be overstated. With the rise in phishing attacks, there's a dire need for solutions that can help users click with confidence. Enter Whag, a cutting-edge platform that's revolutionizing the way we think about URL verification.

Recently, Cody Robertson, Co-Founder and Design Director at Whag, sat down with Andrew on the Business Ninjas podcast to discuss the journey of Whag and the pressing need for verified links in today's online landscape.

Watch or listen to the full podcast here:

From Skateboards to Startups

Cody's entrepreneurial journey began at the age of fourteen, designing logos for skateboard companies. This early foray into the world of design and business set the stage for his future endeavors. After a stint in New York working with startups and big brands, Cody returned to Phoenix where he helped start an incubator for early stage Blockchain companies.

It was during this period that Cody met his co-founder, Sebastian, and the idea for Whag was born.

Addressing the Problem

Whag was created following news of repeated Blockchain scams, with the initial idea of creating a safe hub for Web3 projects, Whag evolved into a solution that addresses the phishing problem at its source: the link. As Cody says, “Every phishing attack has two things in common: a malicious link, and a fraudulent identity”, Whag was created to address both of these issues and more. While Whag offers immense benefits to Web3 communities, the founders quickly realized the broader application of this technology and plan to apply it in through B2B partnerships, and widespread adoption for any individual on the internet. In the podcast episode, after Cody explains the power of the product, the host, Andrew, makes an insightful comment:

“I mean the amount of texts that I get in a day… I’m at the point where even if I get an email from one of the providers that I have a subscription with, I don’t click on their links, I’ll go to their website directly, just to double-check. Because I’ve seen emails that look 99.99% like the OEM’s email. We’re all gun-shy now, I know somebody who’s been hit.”

Phishing is Everywhere

When discussing how Whag can protect its clientele, the pressing need for defenses against wire fraud arises. As wire transfers are permanent and relatively irreversible by nature, the need to ensure these transfers are secure is paramount. Cody even shares his own story of being a victim of wire fraud. In recounting his experience with government agencies and his bank, he called the ordeal “an absolute nightmare”. In fact, only 29% of wire fraud cases can fully recover funds.

Industries far and wide face phishing every day. Imagine the day of an event planner coordinating an event for over fifty executives. You’re planning transportation, lodging, food, and the event itself; try to picture how many links are being sent, received, and opened. Cody paints the picture for us,

“That’s a lot of links they’re sending. They’re sending invoices, they’re sending itineraries… and most of the time when recipients see these, they’re saying ‘Okay, I’m just gonna go do this. This is from the event planning company,’ and it turns out that is not the case. There is a huge opportunity for someone to intercept and send them false information, or get them to pay fraudulent invoices.”

Venmo Me

Cody goes on to draw up an interesting metaphor. Venmo, the online payment application with over 75 million users, is a trusted platform with debit and credit capabilities, you could even say the company serves as an online bank. Sending money to someone is easy and secure, you have their exact username, typically a photo of the recipient, and Venmo even gives you the option to verify the recipient with the last four digits of their cell phone number. But for a moment, imagine every time you initiate a Venmo transaction, you aren’t sure who is receiving your money. Cody says it best here,

“You would never use the app, because you need to know who is behind the payment. So why isn’t there that paradigm with the links that we send? We’ve all seen how clever and sophisticated these phishing attacks can get. It bolsters down on the argument that the identity layer is so so very important for sending links of importance.”

Without the confirmed identity of users online, how are we to know who to trust? That’s where Whag comes in.

The Ultimate Solution to Phishing

Whag is more than just another online platform. It's a tool designed to combat the ever-growing threat of phishing. As Cody explains, phishing attacks are rampant, costing individuals and businesses billions of dollars annually. These malicious attacks often come in the form of seemingly innocent emails or texts, leading unsuspecting victims to fraudulent sites.

That's why Whag was created. Unlike competitors in the space, Whag offers a three-pronged approach to link security, arming users with an unbreakable added layer of protection:

  1. Verified Links: Each link has a unique signature tied to a verified user, ensuring that the link's source is genuine.
  2. Whag Tag: A verified and unique online identity, ensuring that users can create and share verified links without fear of impersonation.
  3. Community-sourced Blocklist: A constantly updated list of malicious URLs, ensuring users are protected from known threats.

With the upcoming Chrome Extension, Whag aims to provide users with a seamless browsing experience, free from the fear of stumbling upon malicious links.

Two side by side screenshots of the Whag platform. Displaying Whag's Verified Links, and a user profile called a Whag Tag

The Business Side of Whag

While Whag offers solutions for individual users, its primary focus is on B2B. Managed Service Providers for cybersecurity, especially those catering to small businesses, stand to benefit immensely from Whag's offerings.

Highlighting the unique benefit that Whag to remote organizations, who suffer three times the volume of phishing attacks than standard businesses, Andrew states,

“This is an incredible tool right now as companies go more and more remote, there are more access points that are problems than ever, with employees scattered over the planet. These sorts of protectors are invaluable.”

By embedding Whag's services, Managed Service Providers can offer their clients an added layer of security, ensuring that sensitive communications remain uncompromised, at a fraction of the cost of other cybersecurity solutions for businesses.

Content: The Driving Force Behind Whag's Growth

The communication problem that the Whag team stands to address is apathy. Internet users today understand the potential threat that phishing and data breaches pose but tend to take a reactive approach, costing industries billions to date. In the world of cybersecurity, educating the masses is crucial. Whag understands this and has invested heavily in content creation, focused on raising awareness and illuminating the realities of falling victim to phishing attacks. From evergreen articles defining phishing and its various forms (like spear phishing, smishing, and vishing) to videos and case studies, Whag is committed to keeping its audience informed and protected. By continuing to inform internet users, Whag hopes to encourage the adoption of the platform, as well as other proactive measures like best practices for online safety.

You can check out their content on the company’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, as well as blog articles covering modern cyber threats and how to combat them.

In Conclusion

In a world where online threats lurk around every corner, tools like Whag are not just useful; they're essential. Whether you're an individual looking to protect your online identity or a business aiming to safeguard sensitive communications, Whag offers a comprehensive solution to all your link security needs.

Ready to redefine your online security? Dive into the world of Whag and click with confidence. Discover more at https://www.whag.me/.