Houseparty has become popular among people during lockdown or those self-isolating due to the coronavirus. It has now achieved some 10 million in downloads from Google Play alone and daily downloads have shot up to 650,000 in late March.
But its success may be fading as a growing number of users have begun to blame the app for their PayPal, Netflix and Spotify accounts being hacked.
As the number of hacking complaints continues to grow, there’s very little evidence that Houseparty had anything to do with it. Users are simply going on the last app they installed, which may often have been Houseparty.
Developer Epic Games has vehemently rejected these claims and is now offering a $1 million (yes $1 million) reward for the first person to offer proof of this being a “smear campaign” against Houseparty.
Whilst the app may be safe, it has recently been criticised for collecting user data automatically for marketing purposes.
Further, Forbes recently hired security expert Lukas Stefanko to take a closer look at the app and determine if it was safe. He said:
“I analyzed the app’s permissions usage and since the app provides video chats with your friends it is logical that requested permissions are necessary. I haven’t found any shady misusing of them by the app. The app doesn’t provide a lot of in-app options and settings, which creates less scenarios for exploiting security issues.”
Instead, it’s more likely that a rise in hack attacks is due to a) more people spending time online throughout the day due to the lockdown, and b) people using the same passwords for all their accounts. Once a hacker cracks one account, they’ll try the same password across the remaining ones.
Anyone with actual proof of this being a smear campaign against Houseparty can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.