Is Houseparty hacking PayPal, Netflix and Instagram accounts of its users? If you can prove it you may get $1 million from the company.
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic that has sent the entire world under full or partial lockdown and people in self-isolation mode working from home, apps like Houseparty have proven to be a blessing for the house-bound populace.
Houseparty, in particular, has witnessed an incredible increase in its daily downloads. However, many users are complaining that the app is hijacking their social media and banking accounts.
A number of British media outlets including Mirror Online, have reported that either Houseparty has been hacked or the app has hacked its users’ PayPal, eBay, Instagram, Netflix, and Spotify accounts.
Houseparty, a video conferencing-based desktop and mobile application owned by the Fortnite fame Epic Games, has denied these claims.
On its Twitter handle, the company categorically rejected British tabloids’ reports and announced a reward of $1 million to anyone offering evidence that a “paid commercial smear campaign” has been launched to cause reputational damage. Houseparty’s tweet read:
“Houseparty hasn’t hacked your bank account. 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 bounty@Houseparty.com.”
It doesn’t seem too odd that the app is being targeted because the number of its daily downloads have shown an astonishing hike with 24,795/day on Feb 15 to 651,694/day by Mar 25. Moreover, none of the complainants have provided evidence to back their claims, and all we have is a growing number of viral complaints.
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
As per our research, the only connection between reports of hacked accounts and Houseparty is that it was the last app that users installed prior to getting their account(s) hacked or that some users blamed Houseparty on social media and others just followed suit.
It is worth noting that lately, hackers have been targeting video conferencing apps worldwide. In fact, the FBI has issued two warnings in the last three days about cyber criminals abusing Zoom and Google Classroom apps. Earlier today, HackRead.com also published a report alerting Zoom users on ongoing “Zoom-bombing” attacks.
If you are using a video conferencing software, make sure you have downloaded legitimate installation from its official website. Stay safe from Coronavirus offline and stay safe from crooks exploiting the pandemic online.