Launched in 2016, Houseparty is a popular social networking app that offers video calling and chat. The hit app has seen a huge spike in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown, but is the party over since a large number of users reported their accounts have been hacked?
A large number of Twitter users including ex-islanders Olivia Bowen and Kady McDermott have reported security issues with app.
Olivia Bowen reported: ‘My friend’s mate was hacked so prob best to delete!’ whist other Twitter users reported that Spotify, Snapchat and Uber, Apple accounts, email and mobile banking apps were hacked as a result of them using the app.
A number of other members of the public have expressed concern:
me re-downloading houseparty finking it wouldn’t hack me then 2 days later absolutely everything i have an account for gets hacked, including all my online banking apps, pay pal, facebook, icloud, all emails, apple account & EVERY OTHER FUKING ACCOUNT I HAVE. even ma soundcloud:( pic.twitter.com/093NKPBq6a— Lily Dimmick (@LilyDimmick) April 5, 2020
If anyone has the houseparty app I highly suggest you delete it asap. Spotify/banks/facebooks/snapchats have been hacked into and transactions have been made from peoples accounts. My Spotify has been accessed in other countries despite changing passwords/emails! #housepartyhack— kiralee? (@hesgoIden_) April 10, 2020
But now the creators of the app are calling the scandal a ‘paid commercial smear’ and have offered a ‘$1,000,000 bounty’ to the first person who provides 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
So, is this fake news or has the Houseparty app been gatecrashed?
There are many potential explanations for this unexplained phenomenon of mass-hacking:
- It could have been part of a commercial smear campaign as the creators of Houseparty suggest.
- Coincidence: the people who were hacked also happened to have recently downloaded Houseparty.
- Jumping on the hype-wagon: this could be good old social media hysteria at play where users jump on the hype because they think it’s trendy or to gain attention.
- The claims are real and Houseparty is hacking personal data illegally.
According to Forbes, who had cybersecurity and privacy researcher Lukas Stefanko review Houseparty for potential security issues, he reported ‘there was nothing of concern’. Ultimately, it’s at your discretion whether you want to continue using the app.
Do you use Houseparty? Have you considered deleting the app since the allegations?
Featured imaged courtesy of Joe Paternoster, permission granted. No changes were mad to this image.
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