Clubhouse's security woes are raising questions over its reliability as a private chat app. Just over a week has passed since its developers pledged to bolster safeguards over Chinese spying fears, and it's already suffered a lapse. Bloomberg reports that an unidentified user believed to be from China was able to infiltrate multiple Clubhouse chatrooms over the weekend and listen to audio conversations. The person, who has now been banned by the app, streamed the chats to their own website.
As a result, Clubhouse said it's implementing more security measures aimed at halting unwarranted entries. But, as venture partner Rui Ma pointed out in tweets, there's still evidence from the latest breach circulating on GitHub.
Some Chinese developer made an Android / PC compatible player for Clubhouse, put it on GitHub, and this guy is like “Clubhouse has been hacked & it’s coming out of China.” Then he goes on Clubhouse chatrooms to “verify this hack.” https://t.co/7lbZDJa772— Rui Ma 马睿 (@ruima) February 21, 2021
Earlier this month, Clubhouse implemented blocks over concerns that China could legally obtain the app's recordings from the country's servers in order to suppress dissent. The updates included additional encryption and blocks to prevent users from transmitting pings to Chinese servers. Developers Alpha Exploration also promised to get the changes audited by a third-party security firm.
The back-to-back incidents follow a rollercoaster month for Clubhouse, which has evolved from a Silicon Valley darling to a more open space for all kinds of diverse groups. Tesla founder Elon Musk's appearance on the app has also helped to fuel its snowballing hype.