A bounty of $1,000,000 has been offered for the first person to provide them with proof of such a campaign.
Over the weekend, rumours started circulating that the app was hacking into users’ Spotify, Amazon and PayPal accounts.
Many viral posts spread on Twitter and Facebook, as well as in closed WhatsApp and Snapchat groups, which led to Houseparty making a statement on their official Twitter account, claiming to be a victim of a “paid commercial smear campaign”.
Epic Games, the company that owns the app, has offered a bounty for the first person to provide them with evidence that such a campaign exists.
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
The company behind the hit game Fortnite acquired Houseparty last June, although the app remained relatively unknown until the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts who have looked into the case have reached a consensus that it’s unlikely the app is actively hacking into users’ other accounts, as it is owned by a well-established software company.
There are numerous cases in the past of big software companies having flaws in their products or inaccurately denying they’ve been hacked, but the nature of this incident isn’t consistent with the usual patterns of cyber-crimes.
Experts suggest that the reported breaches might be linked to unrelated hacks and that it’s merely a coincidence that people are reporting being hacked shorty after having downloaded the chat app.
Epic Games reported that, according to their investigation, many of the original posts spreading the claims have been deleted and the Twitter accounts they were posted to suspended.
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