Reuben Paul showed how seemingly innocent toys could be hacked and turned into covert surveillance device
An 11-year-old boy has shocked cyber security experts by hacking a robotic teddy bear. Not only did he hack it, Reuben Paul turned the robot bear into an undercover surveillance device. He presented the hack live on stage at the International One Conference 2017 in the Netherlands.
First, Reuben connected the teddy’s Bluetooth device using a Raspberry Pi computer. Then he connected the bear to the internet via WiFi and Bluetooth, so that it could send and receive messages. Reuben then used a programming language called Python to hack the bear and take control of its functions. This gave him the power to turn on one of the teddy’s lights and recording a message from the audience.
Despite his young age, Reuben has already become propular as a “cyber ninja”. He has been speaking at Cyber conferences since the age of eight. He founded a non-profit organization known as Cyber Shaolin. The organization aims to equip kids with cyber security skills using videos and games.
Reuben has proved that anything that connects to internet can be used as a weapon – including apparently innocent toys. It could also be used to steal private information such as passwords, as remote surveillance devices to spy on kids, or to locate a person using GPS.