Seriously, Don't Download 'Yo'

App has already been hacked

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2014 11:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – Well that was fast: Yo has been hacked. The app that lets you send messages that say "yo" (yes, that's all it does) was virtually unknown a week ago, but then it got a $1 million cash injection, prompting a flood of mostly incredulous news stories—and a lot of curious downloads. By yesterday it was on Apple's Top Free Apps list, and now three Georgia Tech students have hacked it, TechCrunch reports. The hack, which Yo has confirmed, allows the students to collect any user's phone number, spam users with "Yo"s—or any other push notification—and much more. Another so far unconfirmed hack appears to allow Yo to Rickroll people.

"The lesson here, Yo? The next time an app falls from the heavens and lands on everybody’s phones, maybe we should think twice before installing it," writes Alex Fitzpatrick at Time. Yo, developed in all of eight hours and suddenly instantly popular, "certainly doesn't have anything resembling an effective internal security team," and was a "prime target." Meanwhile, over at the Atlantic, Ian Bogost takes a more thoughtful look at the app, and while he thinks there's some honesty in its grand-yet-stupid ambition to formalize meta-communication, he also finds it kind of "gross," both because "yo" is "a dudebro's term" that's "stocky and aggressive," and because the app tries to "contain all human activity within the logics of tech startups. The need to expect something from every idea, even the stupid ones." His whole column is worth a read.

  (Yo)
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