Club House exposes its users to security risks. Voice chat app has increased in popularity due to Elon Musk
Social media invitations to join Club House, what is this app? Is it safe?
There has been a lot of talk recently about a new and secret voice chat app called Clubhouse that can only be downloaded through an invitation, and social media in the world, and our Arab region as well, these invitations among the public seeking to try new and safer applications, but is the application « Club House » safe?
ClubHouse is a voice chat app for invitees only, launched less than a year ago, and was widely spread during the Coronavirus pandemic when people were unable to meet face-to-face. The concept is simple: once you’re invited to join, you can start conversations or listen to them in digital « rooms, » from a keynote talk by a celebrity to a conversation within a small group.
« Secret Wealthy Club » the reason for the success of the app
ClubHouse, available to iPhone users only, had about 1.1 million registered users as of February 2, but as of that date, its worldwide users had jumped to more than 3.6 million, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.
The app has developed a smart marketing plan by inviting top tech managers to use it as it is limited only to invitees, prompting many social media to call the app a « secret wealthy club, » yet the app was not popular.
But after Elon Musk used it earlier this month and talked about a number of things, from his private life, books, movies and the end of his company projects, many users were excited to apply to join the app to hear what Musk said.
Many calls have emerged on social media to join the app, including in The Arab Countries, as an alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook, through which voice chats can be made.
With Arab users’ opinions on social media platforms differing on their experiences with the app, the biggest question that has always been the focus of attention is: Are the app’s voice chat rooms safe? Could such recordings fall into the hands of security or criminal actors that may lead to untold risks to users?
Study: ClubHouse app is not safe
The voice chat app Clubhouse said it was reviewing data protection practices after a study said it contained security flaws that left users’ data vulnerable to access by the Chinese government, according to a Reuters report.
In response to a study by a group of researchers at Stanford University, the app said that although it chose not to make the app available in China, some people found a solution to download the app, which meant that the conversations could have been transmitted through Chinese servers.
« With the help of researchers at the Stanford Internet Observatory, we have identified a few areas where we can enhance our data protection, » the company said in a statement released Friday.
« Over the next 72 hours, we are making changes to add more encryption to prevent ClubHouse customers from sending voice calls to Chinese servers. We also plan to involve an external data security company to review and verify these changes. »
The Stanford Internet Observatory said it confirmed that Chinese technology company Agora has provided a back-to-back infrastructure to ClubHouse, and that Agora is likely to be able to access the raw voice of users, which could provide access by the Chinese government.
He also said that he had observed the transfer of metadata to servers believed to be hosted in China, and audio to servers run by Chinese entities. But he added that he believed that the Chinese government would not be able to access the data if the audio was stored in the United States.
A spokesman for Agora said the company has no comment on any relationship with ClubHouse, but Agora does not have access to or store personal data, nor does it pass through audio or video traffic in China generated by users outside China, including U.S. users.
« The Stanford Internet Observatory chose to disclose these security issues because they are relatively easy to detect and because they pose immediate security risks to millions of ClubHouse users, particularly in China, » the report said, believing that the Chinese government « will not be able to access data if the audio is stored in the United States. »
In the end, Club Haas remains relatively modern and can only be joined by an invitation to submit a request, so it is not possible to know the power of encrypting chats within it, as it has not yet been proven to be completely safe or hackable, and it is up to users to appreciate the feasibility of their need for a new chat application added to the caravan of many applications that exist exists.
Source: Reuters + Websites + Social Media