A cyber guru who happens to be just 11-years-old has shocked an audience of experts by hacking into their Bluetooth devices to control a robotic teddy bear which demonstrated how it’s possible to “weaponize” toys and other smart devices.
Reuben Paul, who is in the sixth grade at a school in Texas and his teddy bear named Bob, stunned hundreds of people at a conference in the Netherlands.
The little boy said “airplanes, automobiles, smartphones, and smart homes” can be a part of the “internet of things.”
He went on to say anything with smart technology can be manipulated by hackers.
To demonstrate his theory, he used his cuddly bear, which connects to the internet by wifi and Bluetooth send or receive data.
Reuben plugged into his laptop an item known as a “Raspberry Pi” which is a small credit-card size computer that can scan nearby Bluetooth devices and he downloaded many numbers, including some of the top-ranking officials present at the event.
Using Python, a form of computer code, he was able to use the bear to turn on lights and record members of the audience secretly.
— Joost vander Vleuten (@BruJoost) May 16, 2017
He claimed that most things connected to the internet could have a Bluetooth functionality and he demonstrated it was possible to connect to it and send commands to it.
He said IOT appliances and other items that are used in our everyday lives can be used to spy on or harm people
According to Reuben, they can be used to steal private information like passwords, remote surveillance to spy on people, or as a global positioning system to figure out where someone is.
Information technology expert Mano Paul played a role in educating his son with IT skills.
Mano Paul said, “he always surprised us.”
Paul said he was shocked at the discoveries made by his son, especially the fact that toys could be used to spy on people.
Mano said kids are playing with potential “time bombs” that over time can be manipulated by malevolent people
The family has supported Reuben, who is also the youngest person to have a Shaolin Kung Fu black belt, to set up his non-profit organization called CyberShaolin.
The non-profit organization is designed to inform children and adults about the danger of cyber-insecurity, adding he also wants to encourage the government and companies to work together to ensure the safety of people who use products like these.
Reuben has plans to study cyber-security at either CalTech or MIT universities to use his expertise for benevolence.