Clubhouse Android app launched for 2 billion users – should you use it?
Clubhouse, the audio-only viral social media app, is now launch on Android after one year of iPhone exclusivity. Clubhouse is a popular app, especially since its invite-only ethics add exclusive appeal – and of course, there’s the fact that you can get up close and personal with celebrities like Elon musk and Oprah, both of which appeared in the “bedrooms” of the Clubhouse.
Clubhouse has started rolling out to Android users in the US and is growing to reach the nearly 2 billion operating system users over the next few months. But since its launch and increasingly after its rapid growth earlier this year, there has been worries on the security and confidentiality of the Clubhouse.
So, is Clubhouse safe to use and should you download the Android app?
Clubhouse: the bad
In April, he emerged that user data, including IDs, names, usernames and Twitter and Instagram IDs, had been leaked online and posted on an online hacker forum – but Clubhouse said this was not not due to a breach, pointing out that the information retrieved was all publicly available in the app. The edge reported how Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison described data called “all of our app’s public profile information.”
But that doesn’t change the fact that this information was so readily available that it could be scratched off in the first place.
âThe amount of data that Clubhouse collects is more than what users can think of,â says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET.
âStaying by invitation only comes with the exclusive touch, but it’s something that could make it open to abuse,â Moore warns. âPossible payments or the exchange of personal data in exchange for such invitations are potentially exploitable. In addition, anyone using Clubhouse must remain cautious about the information they offer and remain vigilant about what they say in the app. “
The other safety concerns are not the fault of the Clubhouse itself. If you are an Android user, you will need to look for signs that the Clubhouse app is genuine. It’s already been widely imitated – in March, ESET researchers discovered an Android Trojan posing as Clubhouse.
Clubhouse says user privacy and security is a “top priority”.
A Clubhouse spokesperson said, âOur team is continually working to improve the experience and we have launched several privacy-focused features over the past few months, including the ability to allow users to invite friends without giving access. to their contact list.
âWe minimize the data we need to collect and store about our users, and we don’t track people between apps or collect any other activity from their web usage. We also work closely with the broader security and privacy community, including hosting Penetration Testing Drills with NCC and a Bug Bounty Program in conjunction with HackerOne. “
Clubhouse: the good
Some of Clubhouse’s security concerns have been resolved. This was facilitated by research from the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), which found that a user had streamed audio and metadata from the Clubhouse to another site.
Clubhouse has told me that recording or streaming without the express permission of the speakers is against the Clubhouse Terms of Service. “The company has established trust and security procedures in place to investigate and remedy any violation of these rules, which may include suspending or removing the application.”
Previously you had to allow Clubhouse to access your contacts in order to use the app, which is not great for your privacy or that of others.
As of March of this year, an update means you can invite friends to the Clubhouse without having to open your address book, but as Vox explains: âIf someone else has uploaded their contacts and your phone number is there, it will receive it alert that you have joined the app, whether you download your contacts or not.
“There is no way to preemptively block a user in the onboarding process to avoid this, and blocking someone on Clubhouse does not prevent them from seeing your profile anyway.”
Another security issue, now resolved, could have allowed an attacker to hide and eavesdrop in a Clubhouse room undetected.
Should you be using the Clubhouse Android app?
Sure, Clubhouse collects a lot of data, but it’s a new app that will likely struggle to tackle security and privacy issues for some time to come. It’s clear that Clubhouse wasn’t built with privacy in mind, but there are plenty of other apps that have recently entered the mainstream that haven’t, and at least they’re now trying to make it. improve. That’s without even considering well-established apps like Facebook, one of the most data-intensive apps. Clubhouse is no worse.
Still, Clubhouse’s popularity might even fade, as others like Facebook and Twitter launch similar features. Downloads of the app have recently declined, after spiking earlier this year, and Clubhouse has to hope that the launch of Android can change that.
So taking all this into account, should you be using Clubhouse? It’s up to you, but if you really want to, there are some steps you can take to be safer. First of all, make sure you are using the real version of the app i.e. invitation only, so make sure the invitation is from someone you trust. Also pay attention to what permissions it asks for, and be careful what you grant.
When using Clubhouse, if you do talk, treat it like someone can listen and don’t share any information you wouldn’t be comfortable writing about online.