In the time when everyone is locked up in their room, Houseparty popularity has achieved an unprecedented feat. Reportedly the app saw 651,694 daily downloads on 25 March, a manifold increase from 24,795 daily on 15 February.
But recently, many users are alleging that the app has shared their personal information. This has resulted in their other online accounts – including Netflix, eBay, Instagram, and Spotify – being hacked.
What is Houseparty?
Houseparty is a group video app with in-app games to play with your friends and families. With more than 10 million downloads, it is rated 3.7 on Playstore. (Its rating has plummeted due to the rumours).
Houseparty was first launched in 2016 and was later acquired by makers of the famous game Fortnite, Epic Games in 2019. It is now ranked #7 in Top free chart of Playstore.
You can facetime with a maximum of 8 people and can also play games and quizzes. You can also be in a room with friends of your friends. It offers multiple multiplayer games like Heads Up, Trivia and Quick Draw though, but most of the in-games are paid.
When contacts come online, a push notification is sent to let others know so a “room” can be organized for friends to join. It’s your choice to lock the room to prohibit the entry of any other user or left it open for the strangers to come.
What are the Rumours?
“BEWARE! I know I’m not the only one with this problem! A few of my friends have been hacked by @houseparty if you look at the Twitter feed! They log into your Spotify from Russia. Get your bank details and can hack it. It’s very simple once you click agree to terms and conditions,” a user tweeted.
Many users are also complaining that they are unable to delete their Houseparty account.
“Hack or not. People need to be able to delete their accounts. It’s AGAINST EU GDPR LAW. You need to fix this. I will be reporting this,” a user wrote on Twitter.
A Security company Sophos said that if the app is harming its users, then the user is still vulnerable even after deleting the app.
What Are The Expert’s opinions?
Cybersecurity and privacy researcher Luka Stefanko said Houseparty has no apparent flaws or security problems.
Stefanko told Forbes that “I analyzed the app’s permissions usage. I haven’t found any shady misusing of [these permissions] by the app.”.”The app doesn’t provide a lot of in-app options and settings, which creates fewer scenarios for exploiting security issues,” he added.
What Houseparty Says?
The Houseparty assured all its users that their personal information had not been compromised. The company tweeted “All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.” on 30 March.
They also said that after investigations, they have realized that the rumor of their app being hacked was a “paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty”.
In a tweet on 31 March, they offered a whopping $1,000,000 bounty to anyone who will be the first to provide proof of such a campaign to [email protected]
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