Who demonstrated the ease of hacking connected devices at a cybersecurity conference?

Answer: an 11-year-old

by / May 17, 2017

Reuben Paul is a sixth-grader in Austin, Texas, whose Twitter profile describes him as a video gamer and kung fu black belt. He’s also a “cybersecurity ninja.” 

On Tuesday he skipped school to take the stage at a cybersecurity conference in the Netherlands to explain to a room of tech leaders why Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices are a threat to both adults and kids. Paul plugged his connected teddy bear, Bob, into his laptop and a Raspberry Pi module, and scanned the hall for Bluetooth-connected devices, downloading the phone numbers of dozens in attendance, including those of some top officials. He then hacked into the bear and used the stolen phone numbers to record the audience.

The demonstration was meant to convey the ease with which such a device was hacked, and the danger that poses to kids, who could possibly be deceived by a toy programmed to say, for example, “Meet me at this location and I will pick you up.”

In case you weren’t feeling inadequate enough, Paul is also an excellent gymnast and has already started his own nonprofit to help kids and adults learn more about the dangers of poor cybersecurity.