Yo, Hacked on Friday, Just Hired One Of Its Hackers And Topped 1 Million Users

After an embarrassing dustup on Friday, the stupid-simple messaging service is beefing up security by hiring one of its hackers.

Yo, Hacked on Friday, Just Hired One Of Its Hackers And Topped 1 Million Users
[Image: Flickr user Torbakhopper]

Yo, an awful but interesting messaging app that doesn’t actually let you send messages, just crossed the million-user threshold since launching last Wednesday. Part of its enormous popularity is its aggressive approach to simplicity: All Yo does is send friends a push notification that says, plainly, “Yo.”

On Friday, however, three hackers from Georgia Tech managed to obtain the phone numbers of 300,000 Yo users, barraging those users’ friends with a tidal wave of Yos. For a brief time, those phone numbers were exposed on a “Yo Hack” website.

“Yo started as a weekend project and exploded a little too soon,” said Or Arbel, Yo’s developer and founder. “We were just finishing up rewriting the infrastructure in a proper and secure way, as suitable for production-grade apps, when it suddenly blew up and went viral.”

It reflects a hyper-paced tech industry that would rather launch first, scale fast, and patch any security vulnerabilities as they happen, often to the detriment of you, the user.

Yo, to its credit, seems to be proactive about addressing the embarrassing exploit. According to The Guardian, Yo has enlisted one of those Georgia Tech hackers to help fix its security vulnerabilities. That’s one way to land a new job.

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.