Clubhouse data leak, including phone numbers, not as bad as it looks
More than 3.8 billion Clubhouse data is for sale on the dark web, according to a Newscast by the exit CyberNews. But that’s not the type of valuable leak it might sound like.
The social audio app made headlines in July when news broke that network data had appeared on hacker forums. At the time, CEO Paul Davidson said the app wasn’t hacked, but rather someone used a bot to crawl their API and collect public information about every user in their database. But now, CyberNews posted a story saying that the data treasure sold includes not only usernames and emails, but also private phone numbers.
Social hacking – This would suggest that Clubhouse was really hacked, but it isn’t. The company said Grab in a statement that the phone numbers, which are not associated with a particular account in the leaked database, were generated by a series of bots. The “hackers” would submit these numbers to a Clubhouse API and if the number was in the Clubhouse system, it would return a number indicating how many contacts that phone number is connected to the app. It is akin to automated calling of all possible numbers and recording those who go off hook. No user-identifiable data is returned.
It is worth keeping in mind that CyberNews previously reported a so-called LinkedIn hack that involved data that was in fact readily available on users’ public profiles. However, Clubhouse data such as email addresses could theoretically be used in phishing attempts. Be careful when replying to all emails you receive from the company, especially if it prompts you to log into your account.
Still, the data doesn’t seem very valuable unless the phone numbers are associated with a particular account, which doesn’t appear to be the case. The Dark Forum poster asks for $ 100,000 for the data, but also suggests that it will sell cheaper portions.
Social networks – The clubhouse exploded during the pandemic as people sought to connect remotely. The app allows people to host audio chat rooms where people can come and go. Most of the conversations are fireside chats, but there have also been game shows and other freewheeling type chats that have taken place in the app. The Clubhouse faces waning demand, however, as vaccination rates increase with in-person events, and competition from major platforms like Twitter is not helping.
Clubhouse yesterday launched a new, more intimate feature called “Wave” which allows users to wave their friends over to invite them to a private meeting room. This could extend its use cases beyond public chats where there is more pressure to be entertaining.