Gaming

Houseparty App Is Offering a Million-Dollar Reward for Proof of Hacking

The lockdown’s favourite game came under fire yesterday after users alleged their other accounts were hacked after downloading the app.
Dhvani Solani
Mumbai, IN
houseparty app coronavirus lockdown
Photo courtesy Houseparty

First, it was Psych. And then the app started glitching—loading at a pace slower than India’s coronavirus testing or just crashing altogether. And so the world, which has been hungrily in search of exciting new quarantine games and apps to keep our minds off the doom and gloom, moved on to Houseparty, an easy video-calling app with integrated games like Heads Up! and Trivia. It’s an app that used to be cool, then stopped being cool, and then, in the last couple of weeks, saw coronavirus lockdowns across the world reversing its fortunes and making it climb to top positions on app stores.

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But after hanging up on an hour-long Houseparty call with friends late last night, I was bombarded from at least five different WhatsApp groups with “news” stating that the app “has been hacked”, along with forwarded screenshots of people chatting about how everything from their FIFA account to their email inboxes to their bank accounts and Spotify were hacked.

This led to all of us deleting the app right away, and it turns out, we were just part of the exodus that took place yesterday.

And, now, while the world is still asking if an app like Houseparty—owned by Epic Games, which is also the company behind Fortnite—can lead to hacking, Houseparty itself has put out a bounty worth a million dollars to unmask what it’s calling a “paid commercial smear campaign”.

Houseparty has denied any hacking rumours via a statement on its Twitter account, claiming that the app "doesn't collect passwords for other sites," and, hence, wouldn't be able to allow anyone to extract this data and pivot to other online services. "We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts," an Epic Games spokesperson told The Sun.

While everyone is still conflicted on whether to delete the app that saw 10 million downloads on Android and many many millions on Apple (who won’t tell us their exact number, snob), the world is responding in the best way possible: through memes.

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But until the million-dollar winner comes up with something, guess we are back to Zoom.

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