TMCnet Feature
July 23, 2020

The Cyber Risks of Virtual Meet-up Apps like Houseparty

Technology influences our lives in different ways. Many organizations are using advanced technology to host virtual meetings to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Unreliable connections, rough audio, and video lag are the major challenges that many companies face while using virtual meeting apps. Houseparty is one of the most popular virtual meet-up applications. It allows groups consisting of up to eight members to hold video chats. The following are three cyber risks of virtual meet-up apps.

1. Infringement of Privacy

Facebook allows users to send friend requests to strangers. Netflix Party and Houseparty appear to have higher privacy standards than Facebook (News - Alert) as they have invitation-only policies. But, these processes aren't watertight.

Houseparty doesn't need its users to verify their identity. Instead, the app sends a code to your phone to validate the device. Also, it doesn't verify the age of its users. Some Houseparty users claim that you can easily start a live video chat, thus posing a risk to the privacy of users. Gatecrashers can enter virtual parties using Houseparty's default is prudent to change them to 'lock the session' to deny them access.

2. Cybercrime

Cybercriminals can disclose or intercept the confidential information of some virtual meet-up app users. McAfee (News - Alert) sponsored a 2014 report that indicated that cybercrime causes an annual loss of over $445 billion in the global economy. Fraudsters can steal your phone to attend virtual parties.

Many Facebook users don't accept friend requests from strangers. But, Houseparty has a single-factor identification that allows cybercriminals to pose as friends. Houseparty is facing many hacking allegations after it allowed fraudsters to hack the Netflix and Spotify (News - Alert) accounts of some users.

Criminals use different methods to exploit victims. They include demanding huge sums of money and asking for their personal details. Besides, unwary users who are bored with staying at home during lockdowns might try connecting with strangers. Underage users who use mobile phones without parental supervision are more susceptible to cybercrime.

3. Phishing Attacks

Fraudsters can copy the notifications of virtual meet-up apps such as House party, and use them to deceive users to click links that redirect them to other websites. Houseparty requires you to grant it access to your contact list to send invitations to people who aren't using it. They can be an SMS or a link.

Hackers can create phoney URLs that will direct Houseparty users to malicious websites that will install malware on their phones. Even so, there have not been any complaints about such attempts made on Houseparty. But, there are many SMS scams all over the world.

Netflix Party is also susceptible to phishing attacks. If a cybercriminal steals your identity, they can trick you using fraudulent Netflix Party links. Some people use their devices to perform various social activities.

The demand for virtual meeting apps like Houseparty has increased globally since February. Many companies use them to connect with clients and employees. Some meet-up apps allow virtual meetings of more than ten people. iOS and Android devices support them. They include Netflix Party and FaceTime (News - Alert). However, invasion of privacy, cybercrime, and phishing attacks are some of the cyber risks that users of virtual meet-up apps are exposed to.



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