While people have been stuck at home, video calling apps over the last several weeks like Zoom & Houseparty have exploded their popularity. Houseparty allows users to video chat with friends, play online games and quizzes in virtual house parties.
But over the last 24 hours, this app became popular due to viral misinformation.
Just seen these posts about #houseparty – come to think of it, my bank account was hacked and I had £300 stolen within a couple of days of downloading this app. I’ve deleted my account and am STILL getting notifications. #countdownmovie springs to mind pic.twitter.com/1vLZvEa5oQ
— Ellie Taylor (@elltaylor_) March 30, 2020
In response to this, the company said that the hacking information was spread by a paid commercial spear campaign. And they are ready to pay 1,000,000 bounty for the first person to provide the proof.
All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.
— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 30, 2020
But this raised some red flags and forced us to think, is Houseparty hack real or fake, is it a coincidence or smear campaign is responsible for it. To get an answer we did some digging and here are our findings.
Was the Houseparty app really hacked?
An app like Houseparty is always hackers’ favorite, as it is that treasure trove where they can find plenty of personal information. But the $1m bounty offered by Epic the company behind Houseparty says another story.
Also, for a gaming company worth over $15bn, it is unlikely to try and gain personal information from teenager’s accounts by logging into their Spotify, PayPal, or any other accounts. The only real risk to user’s privacy this app pose is the fact that the user added to Houseparty can start video chatting immediately unless the settings are changed.
To deal with this, company already offers alternatives like “mute” or “ghost”.
Ghosting means no one can know when you come online, this might be useful to hide from someone you don’t want to join. While muting someone means you get notified when a person gets online. Both these options are good to keep security uptight.
But this doesn’t say anything clearly.
However, there is no definite evidence of Houseparty leaking personal information or logins, so we can say they are innocent. Also, security experts dismiss the rumors and say the hack is technically not possible.
But if you suspect that the tweets are real change your account passwords instead of deleting the account. Because this is the only way to stay secure.
Another explanation, it seems to be more likely that users who use the same email address and password for different accounts have fallen victim to hackers who are trying to take advantage of this outbreak coronavirus incident. And during this time since they installed Houseparty, they are accusing the app to steal data. So, we can say this is an unfortunate coincidence. You can visit the website “Have I Been Pwned” to see if your personal information is been compromised in a known hack or not.
If that’s the case you’ll understand the unusual behaviors on your accounts.
Last but not the least, it can be a competitor, using false techniques to malign the name of Epic the company behind Houseparty and running the DELETE HOUSEPARTY smear campaign.
If all this is true then, should we continue using the app or delete it?
If you are still confused and would just want to delete the app then here you go.
How To Delete The Houseparty App?
Deleting Houseparty is simple. To delete the Houseparty app on iPhone follow the steps below:
- Launch the app
- Click user account in the top left corner
- Tap Settings > Privacy > delete account
You’ll now be asked if you really want to delete the account. Click Yes and enter your password, tap delete.
Android users will need to send an email to email@example.com as there is no direct way to delete the Houseparty app on Android.
Some users are facing problem while deleting the app.
So @houseparty know my password is CORRECT but are telling me it’s incorrect so I can’t deactivate my account. This is why people are being hacked!! #housepartyapp #deletehouseparty pic.twitter.com/VBEynWtXjt
— Siobhan McDonald (@siobhanxmcdx) March 31, 2020
What does this mean?
Is the app buggy?
We cannot be sure of anything as there is no evidence of anything. However, if you want to stay safe from these types of hacks, we suggest using a different password for all accounts for this you can use the best password manager.
Do you agree with us? Or have something else in mind? Do share your thoughts with us.