11-year-old boy hacks security experts' devices: 5 things about the cyber whiz kid

Reuben Paul addresses the World Forum cyber security conference in The Hague.
Reuben Paul addresses the World Forum cyber security conference in The Hague.PHOTO: AFP

Eleven-year-old cyber whiz kid Reuben Paul was in the news this week for stunning an audience of security experts with his live demonstration of how he hacked into their Bluetooth devices using a teddy bear.

The sixth-grader gave his demo at a cyber security conference at the World Forum in The Netherlands on Tuesday (May 16).

With his bear, connected to the iCloud via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, he downloaded dozens of numbers of those in the hall, including some belonging to top officials.

Here are five things to know about the boy, dubbed a "cyber ninja".

1. He was a CEO at eight years old

Reuben became a chief executive of his own company at just eight years old, after developing an app for a school assignment. His company, Prudent Games, aims to help customers learn about cyber security through entertaining games.

These include a game called Cracker Proof, which teaches users how to build strong passwords, and Crack Me If You Can, a game which provides information about brute force attacks .

The games are available for iPad and some for iPhone.

Reuben said in a blog post in 2015 that there were no new games added as "third grade got in the way".

"I have to focus on studies because education is important," he wrote, sharing that he had been giving keynote speeches at several Information Security conferences.

2. He also began giving talks at eight

When he was eight, Reuben gave a talk at the (ISC)² Security Congress 2014.

ISC)² is an international non-profit membership association advocating cyber security.

According to ISC2, the boy knew he wanted to be a cyber spy from when he was in first grade.

His talk was about creating a safe and secure cyber world for kids, emphasising that the world is unsafe online and filled with new technology and millions of apps that can be used for bad purposes such as cyber bullying.

3. He has a non-profit cyber security site

He founded a non-profit site called CyberShaolin which aims to educate and equip the current and next generation about cyber security for a safe and secure cyber world.

The site offers free courses on topics such as the foundations of cyber security, how to defend computer systems and the various types of cyber security attacks.

It also features videos explaining different cyber security concepts such as hashing, keylogging and Denial of Service.

4. He was the youngest Shaolin-Do Kung Fu black belt in America

Reuben's interests are not limited to just IT - he loves martial arts as well, and at seven years old became the youngest Shaolin-Do Kung Fu black belt in America.

His achievement, made in 2013, was covered by United States media.

His father, information technology expert Mano Paul, said in a blog in 2013 that Reuben did his tests in front of Grandmaster Sin Kwang The at the North Austin Shaolin Do Kung Fu school on Aug 22, 2013.

He said Reuben had started training since he was 3½ years old.

5. He began showing his IT skills from as early as six

Mr Paul told AFP about how his son had revealed his early IT skills when he was six.


Using a simple explanation from his father about how one smartphone game worked, Reuben figured out it was the same kind of algorithm behind the popular game Angry Birds.

"He has always surprised us. Every moment when we teach him something he's usually the one who ends up teaching us," Mr Paul told AFP.

SOURCES: AFP, ISC2TV, Prudentgames.com, Thepauls.wordpress.com, Tripwire.com