Houseparty Offers $1m for Info on ‘Smear Campaign’

Houseparty is offering $1m for evidence of a suspected smear campaign, after several reports emerged that multiple users had had other online accounts compromised via the video conferencing app.

The platform has become extremely popular over recent weeks as consumers flock online to socialize safely during a time of lockdowns and social distancing.

However, similar reports in UK tabloid media outlets on Monday pointed to social media “hysteria” over Houseparty users claiming that their use of the app had somehow led to other accounts being compromised.

These include PayPal, Spotify, Amazon, Netflix, Instagram and eBay.

“Anyone who’s using the #Houseparty app be super careful. My bank account was hacked today and it has been linked back to the app. Lots of other people are experiencing the same thing. I’d definitely recommend deleting it,” noted one user in a typical post on Twitter.

However, security experts have leaped to Houseparty’s defense, claiming there’s no evidence linking Houseparty to compromises of other accounts. If the stories are true, it’s more than likely that reused passwords are to blame.

Experts recommended users switch to two-factor authentication for log-ins across as many sites as they can, and to use a password manager.

As a result of the outcry, the video conferencing platform said it is now looking at whether these rumors were a coordinated attempt to defame the company.

“We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1m bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign,” it said on Twitter.

“All Houseparty accounts are safe - the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.”

Users have also complained on social media that when they tried to delete the app it required them to re-enter their password, and then claimed it was incorrect.

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