Epic Games has offered a $1 million bounty to anyone who can provide proof of a smear campaign against targeting their chat app, Houseparty.
Epic Games is offering a $1 million reward to the first individual who can provide proof of a smear campaign intended to harm their video chat app Houseparty. The bounty was first shared on the Houseparty Twitter account.
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 email@example.com.
— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 31, 2020
For those who are unaware of what Houseparty is, it’s a video chat app that Epic Games purchased in 2019. Think Facetime, Zoom, or even Skype with a little twist. Each person on Houseparty has their own chat room that they are in the second they launch the app. Online users receive notifications whenever a friend comes online and can join friends’ rooms with one tap of the screen. Of course, you can lock your chatroom preventing more people from joining. In this way, Houseparty is different from other video-chat applications because you never know who will drop into your room, and you can play games with those who join.
Like many others, I’ve used Houseparty to keep in touch with friends while staying isolated indoors. In fact, Houseparty’s downloads have skyrocketed to over one million a week ever since shelter-in-place orders started in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hacking allegations targeting Houseparty first surfaced on Twitter in the past few weeks, as some users claimed they were locked out of Netflix and Spotify after downloading the app. In my experience with Houseparty, I had the option to link my phone number and Snapchat, but never Netflix or Spotify. Houseparty responded to these claims on Twitter, stating that “all Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.”
Epic Games responded by sharing that they haven’t found any evidence that these Spotify or Netflix hacks are related to Houseparty and encouraged users to create strong passwords for online accounts.