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Facebook advertised a fake “Clubhouse for PC” app with malware planted – TechCrunch




TechCrunch has learned that cybercriminals are running a number of Facebook ads disguised as Clubhouse apps for PC users to target unsuspecting victims with malware.

TechCrunch was warned on Wednesday about Facebook ads associated with several Facebook pages spoofing Clubhouse, a drop-in audio chat app available only on the iPhone. Clicking on the ad opens a fake Clubhouse website with a mockup screenshot of what a non-existent PC app looks like and a download link to the malicious app.

When you open a malicious app, it communicates with the command and control server and tries to get instructions on what to do next. One of the malware sandbox analyzes shows that a malicious app attempted to infect a quarantined machine with ransomware.

But overnight, a fake Clubhouse website hosted in Russia went offline. By doing so, the malware also stopped working. Guardicore’s Amit Serper, who tested the malware in the sandbox on Thursday, said the malware received an error from the server and did nothing more.

The fake website is set up like a real Clubhouse website, but features a malicious PC app. (Image: TechCrunch)

It’s not uncommon for cybercriminals to coordinate malware campaigns to piggyback on the success of very popular apps. Clubhouse is reported to have surpassed more than 8 million global downloads so far, despite its invitation-only launch. Due to its high demand, Scramble not only reverse engineered the app to build a bootleg version to avoid the gated walls of the clubhouse, but also circumvented government censorship where the app was blocked.

Each Facebook page impersonating Clubhouse had only a handful of likes, but was still active at the time of publication. When it arrived, Facebook did not reveal the number of account owners who clicked on ads pointing to fake Clubhouse websites.

At least nine ads were placed this Tuesday-Thursday. Some ads said Clubhouse was “now available on PC,” while another ad featured photos of co-founders Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth. Clubhouse did not return a request for comment.

The ad has been removed from Facebook’s ad library, but I’ve published a copy. In the first place, it’s not clear how the ad went through the Facebook process.

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