In brief: Houseparty, the video conferencing and gaming app, is offering a $1 million reward to anyone providing proof it was the victim of a paid commercial smear campaign.
Houseparty, which was bought by Epic Games in 2019, has experienced a surge in popularity following the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its daily downloads have jumped from 24,795 per day on February 15 to 651,694 on March 25.
Yesterday, there were reports of social media users claiming their Netflix, eBay, Snapchat, and Spotify accounts had been hacked after installing the Houseparty app on their phones. Later posts urged people to delete the app, and some claimed Epic Games was preventing users from removing it from their devices.
Houseparty put out a statement assuring users the app was secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords from other sites, but the damage to its reputation had already been done.
All Houseparty accounts are safe - the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 30, 2020
"We've found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts," a spokesperson for Epic Games said.
"As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform."
Now, Houseparty claims it was the victim of a smear campaign, and is offering $1 million to anyone who can prove this.
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 email@example.com.— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 31, 2020
While experts have analyzed Houseparty and found no evidence of anything out of the ordinary, users should beware of gate crashers—people who can enter unlocked chats uninvited, provided they are connected to someone taking part.
Houseparty hasn't hacked your bank account— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) March 30, 2020
-no link evidence
-their services were not compromised (via @houseparty)
Based on Tweets, people installed trending app, but we don't know what else they installed or where else might entered Houseparty credentials that could be reused pic.twitter.com/lWZpJk1jiE
Image credit: Postmodern Studio via Shutterstock