June 23, 2014
Yo App Founder: 'We Were Lucky To Get Hacked'

Getting hacked so soon to a company's full launch doesn't seem like something a founder or CEO would want for their company, but Yo, the founder behind the one-word app's social messaging platform claims that the company was "lucky to be hacked."

If we stop and think about it, we can kind of see founder Or Abel's point. A hack ultimately reveals a site or an app's vulnerability, and since Yo is a relatively new app that's just starting to get attention, the company could tweak what needs to be fixed and move on with better exposure.

Yo's founder Abel wrote on Medium to explain his point of view. "We were lucky enough to get hacked at an early stage and the issue has been fixed." The hack also highlighted what Yo was really about -- simplicity.

If you aren't familiar with Yo app, unlike other apps it doesn't ask a user for personal information. It won't prompt you to link up via Facebook or Twitter, or through your e-mail address. Instead the Yo app only wanted a user to create a user name. Despite the invasive system, phone numbers, which was the only piece of information from users' accounts leaked which started a flood of messages.

The security breach itself which was unintentionally pushed wide open by the researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology on Thursday revealed that there was a huge privacy hole. Users were allowed to push messages to users' phones and read personal data from the company's database.

At the time Abel said:

"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."

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, this breach got the attention of hackers which jumped on the Yo app quickly.

The whole ordeal was explained by the founder on the site Medium:

"Thursday night I've received a text message from an unknown number, asking "Is this the founder of Yo?"I responded Yes and immediately got blasted by Yos, followed by an alert that popped in my app saying YoBeenHacked."

At one point Abel goes on to say that the hacker was pretty helpful and that the team looked into their backend systems in order to close the holes.

"One of the hackers is now working with Yo on improving user experience and "other aspects as well."

Funny enough, on the heels of the hack, Abel decided to hire one of the hackers in order to protect the Yo app. Once the issue was fixed, Yo app got in contact with some of the hackers and brought one lucky hacker on board to work for the company in order to "improve" Yo experience in other aspects as well."

Not too shabby.

[Image via Yo App]