If you’re anything like us, the video chat app, Houseparty, which seemingly came out of nowhere (despite being around since 2016), has quickly become a home screen staple during the coronavirus lockdown. Instagram Stories have all of a sudden became awash with screenshots of friends having virtual get-togethers, too. So, claims that the app could lead to your Netflix, Snapchat or Spotify account being hacked, weren’t exactly welcomed… Especially during a time of social distancing, when box sets are more crucial than ever.
However, it’s reported by the BBC, that the makers of the app are denying the stories so vehemently that they’re even offering a $1 million reward to anybody who can pinpoint where the ‘commercial smear campaign’ against the app started. Yikes!
The rumour began after multiple people posted screenshots on Twitter, showing what they claim is proof that they’ve been locked out of their streaming apps – and more seriously, even their bank accounts, after having downloaded Houseparty. Another claimed their emails had been compromised, too.
One user advised other fans of the app to ‘delete your account before you delete the app’, another said they ‘recommend everyone to delete that house party app [sic], had my email etc hacked from it’.
⚠️ Heads up if you’re using the houseparty app ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/5ZlMDgyhNn
— b.b (@benoobrown) March 30, 2020
The company behind Houseparty, Epic Games, said they had found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromise of other unrelated accounts and according to Houseparty’s official Twitter page, they’re offering the money out to ‘the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign.’
We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 31, 2020
The tweet in full reads: ‘We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumours were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign to bounty@.’
Houseparty also attempted to reassure users that the system had not been hacked, with a further tweet saying, ‘All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.’
However, the replies underneath again show screenshots from users who claim they’ve been hacked and can’t delete their accounts (Houseparty deny users are prevented from deleting their accounts).
We have reached out to Epic Games, the owners of Houseparty, for further comment and will update this story as more emerges.
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.
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