Last weekend I once again attended Hack Manchester. An annual 25 hour hackathon at the Museum of Science and Industry. Perhaps my 7th time attending.
Being solo, having not been able to raise a team again I decided to attempt one of the sponsors challenge. Avecto's challenge to promote or educate cyber security.
The hack that I planned on doing was ambitious. There was a lot of moving parts, some of which I had never done before and was unsure how to do.
I had the idea of developing a mobile app that would give the user the ability to check the safety of a url before visiting it, and being able to crawl it and show generated screenshots in a 3d augmented reality space.
- Create a Xamarin.ios mobile application in Visual Studio for Mac / c#
- Have the app use the Tesseract library identify a url through the camera from a block of text
- Check the url against the Google Safe Browsing API and show the results
- At the same time save send the url to a WebApi I created which stores the url in an Azure Table Storage.
- Have another .NET Core console application checking the ATS and when using HTML Agility pack to crawl the page for other Urls and list them also in ATS.
- Have the .NET Core application make Selenium Web Driver go to the url and save a screenshot to Azure Blob Storage.
- The mobile app would then call the WebApi, retrieve all the screenshots for pages for the website and show them in a 3D augmented reality using ARKit / SceneKit.
And I would call it UrlPeek. Registered UrlPeek.com last week.
Soon into the hack I found I struggled with the Tesseract OCR and calling the Google Safe Browsing API so I concentrated on the website crawling, screenshot generating and augmented reality mobile app side. Which went rather well.
So while I didn't get the useful part of the idea working, I got the cool part working.
In any case, the project was good enough to be shortlisted for the challenge award but understandedly didn't win as the useful part was incomplete.
I can't wait until Hack Manchester next year and have got Lincoln hack in 2 weeks time.