Hackers

Viral App 'Yo' Hires Its Hacker

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
2 min read

Have your heart set on working for a particular tech company? Try hacking the company’s website or app. That might just get you the job.

The viral messaging app “Yo” was hacked last week and now the hacker is working with the founder of Yo.

“One of the hackers is now working with us on improving the user experience,” said San Francisco-based engineer Or Arbel in an email to Entrepreneur.com. The hacker will be working at Yo on a freelance basis, he said.

Related: The ‘Yo’ Explosion Comes Full Circle: Viral App Gets Hacked

Yo, which allows users to send two-letter greetings to other users, was started as an April Fools’ joke, but caught on so quickly that it drew more than $1 million in angel investments and rose to the top of the app list. Last week, the Yo app reached as high as the sixth most popular spot on the free download list. As of 11 a.m. ET Monday, Yo had slipped slightly to the ninth most popular app available for free download.

To be hacked when the app is so visibly in the public eye might seem like a death knell, but Arbel had only good things to say of the experience. “We were lucky enough to get hacked at an early stage and the issue has been fixed,” he wrote in a post that published Saturday on the self-publishing platform Medium. “We are also lucky because this hack and security breach is really highlighting what Yo is, and what we are all about.”

Related: Top 10 Apps for Instant Messaging (Infographic)

To join Yo, the only information a user has to share is a username. That means that personal email addresses, Facebook accounts, full names and other sorts of information typically asked for by online services can not be stolen from Yo, because the app does not have that information.

Arbel did admit that the explosive growth of Yo was a bit more than he bargained for. “Yo started as a weekend project and exploded a little too soon. We were just finishing up re-writing the infrastructure in a proper and secure way, as suitable for production grade apps, when it suddenly blew up and went viral.”

Related: Recruiting at a Hackathon? 5 Tips for Success

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