Following Reuben Paul’s keynote presentation, Hacking is Child’s Play, Literally, at The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit recently in Prague, I had the opportunity of speaking with him. Reuben, is an 11 year old hacker, founder of CyberShaolin and a Cyber Security Ambassador.

I asked Reuben when he first got interested in technology. He told me it began when he was 4 or 5 years of age. He liked playing the Wii, Xbox and video games. From the age of 6 he developed an interest in cyber security while listening to his father Mano, an IT and Cyber Security expert during his business calls. Since then Reuben’s passion for Cyber Security has grown. He has presented at 14 security conferences, 5 international conferences, has given 12 keynotes speeches and received 5 standing ovations.

During his presentation at the Open Source Summit Reuben gave a live demonstration of how he could hack into smart devices and online apps for games. Using the R.E.V. (Robotic Enhanced Vehicles) smart toy cars he introduced a hacker/rogue car into the game. He did this by using several hacking techniques and a Raspberry Pi device plugged into his computer. He was able to manipulate the hacker car to:

–  Drive

–  Change its colour

–  Shoot missiles

At the end of his demo Reuben joked:

Meet R.E.V. Robotic Enhanced Exploited Vehicles

This demonstration showed how easy it was for him (child’s play) to hack into the game and exploit vulnerable code. It highlighted the necessity of creating more robust and secure code. It also reinforced the importance of having proper cyber security processes in place for organisations and businesses in order to prevent cyber-attacks which can have serious negative consequences for all.

Recognizing Reuben’s knowledge and understanding of hacking and cyber security, Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation invited him to be involved in the Core Infrastructure Initiative. The aim of this initiative is:

The stakes have never been higher for open-source software security. With millions of people around the world relying on open source software — and vulnerabilities like Heartbleed putting everyone at risk — it’s time to change the way we support, protect, and fortify open software. Fortifying our future.

  • (See the link below to Reuben’s full Keynote address and demonstration)

Reuben is passionate about cyber security. His mission is to help adults and children understand what it’s all about and its complexities. With the help of his family he has set up an online awareness and educational programme called CyberShaolin.

CyberShaolin’s vision is to educate and equip the current and next generation with cybersecurity and technology knowledge and skills, empowering them to create a safe and secure cyber world.

On this website there are easy to understand short videos that enable children and adults to learn about cyber security and cyber bullying.

Reuben’s wish is to have the CyberShaolin programme available in all schools. He would like everyone to embrace and learn about technology as he believes that it touches every part of our lives. His aim is to work as a Cyber Spy in the future.

Outside of the cyber security and tech worlds his goals are to continue with his gymnastics training. His ambition is to compete in the Olympics. He was also the youngest person in America to achieve a Shaolin Do Kung Fu Black belt aged 7 and he wants to continue with this career.

Personal Reflections and Takeaways:

Reuben is a very well rounded, intelligent and kind boy. He has achieved much during his 11 years on the planet, and is supported by a loving family. Luckily for us he is sharing his technical knowledge with adults, young people, tech and education communities. He is adding an extra layer of youth to diversity to tech which will allow many new opportunities and innovations to emerge. He is an amazing role model and trail blazer for youth not only in the tech industry but also in everyday life. I wish Reuben and his family every success in the future. It was a pleasure to meet him and his father Mano.

Please see below other articles, videos and interviews published related to The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit

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