AN 11-YEAR OLD DUDE this week schooled an audience of security experts by hacking into their Bluetooth devices to hijack a, er, teddy bear.
Reuben Paul, who is a sixth-grade student from Austin, Texas, is reported to have "stunned" the audience at a cybersecurity conference in the Netherlands on Tuesday, but in fact probably made them all feel pretty stupid.
Reuben took to the The World Forum conference to demonstrate how internet-connected devices - including his teddy bear Bob - can be easily "weaponised", and demonstrated this by controlling the WiFi-equipped cuddly toy via Bluetooth to send and receive instructions, the Guardian reports.
The little dude then plugged a Raspberry Pi into his laptop and started scanning the hall for available Bluetooth devices, which saw him successfully connected to several audience members' devices, including some belonging to so-called senior security officials.
Using Python, he then proceeded to hack into Bob via one of the Bluetooth devices to mess around with its lights and transfer a recorded message from the audience through to the bear.
"From airplanes to automobiles, from smartphones to smart homes, anything or any toy can be part of the Internet of Things (IOT)," said Reuben. "From terminators to teddy bears, anything or any toy can be weaponised."
"Most internet-connected things have a Bluetooth functionality ... I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light," he told the AFP later.
"IoT home appliances, things that can be used in our everyday lives, our cars, lights refrigerators, everything like this that is connected can be used and weaponised to spy on us or harm us."
Reuben's father, Mano Paul, an IT expert, said that his kids cyber skills emerged at the age of six, when he began exploring how software systems worked.
"He has always surprised us. Every moment when we teach him something he's usually the one who ends up teaching us," he told the AFP.
Reuben hopes to study cyber-security at either CalTech or MIT universities. µ
Presumably 'Richard' is your next security worry
Good news if the kids need a summer job
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That's another good reason not to see it