Children

Cyber WHIZ kid

Hacking expert Reuben Paul will have you flummoxed with his computer skills and knowledge of cyberspace.

Reuben Paul, is a cyber security expert and he’s all of 11. At a conference in The Netherlands recently, he hacked into Bluetooth devices of some members present to remotely operate a teddy bear, to show the low security standards were in technology. He showed how interconnected devices and gadgets — including smart toys — can be effortlessly “weaponised”.

“From airplanes to automobiles, from smartphones to smart homes, anything or any toy can be part of the Internet of things. From terminators to teddy bears, anything or any toy can be weaponised,” he said.

How: Paul installed a seemingly harmless teddy bear as a means of receiving and transmitting messages. He plugged in a device — ‘Raspberry Pi’, a computer no bigger than a credit card and demonstrated how he could scan the hall for available Bluetooth devices and then download confidential and sensitive information, including phone numbers and contacts.

Method: Paul used Python, a computer language, to hack into his bear using one of the stolen numbers. He then used the bear as a device to record a message from the audience.

Paul’s mother Sangeetha says, “Reuben was selected for the Gifted and Talented programme which was run by the Texas education system, and had to make a game. The others made board games and such, but Reuben who is passionate about video games, decided to come up with Ninja stars.”

In an interview, Paul’s father recollected how, “When he was five, I remember him using words like firewall, and I was surprised that a kid could understand and pick up those things.”

Paul started learning about computer languages when he was barely seven, and went on to designing his own computer projects. Now a sixth grader in Austin, Texas, he is also the CEO of his startup Prudent Gaming.

Paulspeak (modelled on his hero, Spiderman): “With great hacking skills you get power, and with great power comes great responsibility.”

Hobbies: When he is not hacking and developing new apps, Reuben takes Kung Fu, gymnastics and swimming lessons

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:33:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/cyber-whiz-kid/article19093595.ece

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