17:34 07 June 2017
Reuben Paul, an 11-year-old from Austin, Texas has managed to hack a robotic teddy bear and turned it into a covert surveillance device. He demonstrated the hack live on stage at the International One Conference in the Netherlands.
He used a £35 Raspberry Pi computer and scanned the hall for available Bluetooth devices. The robotic bear connects to both Bluetooth and WiFi allowing it to send and receive messages. Using Python, Reuben hacked the bear and took control of its functions, turning on one of its lights and recording a message from the audience.
He then told the audience that any device, including seemingly innocent toys, could be used to spy or harm us if they are connected to Internet of Things (IoT). Hackers can use such devices to steal private information or locate a person using GPS.
In 2015, security researcher Ken Munro, showed how the popular talking doll My Friend Cayla could be used to spy on children in their own homes. Another security researcher, Andrew Hay, has also previously shown how Mattel’s WiFi-connected Barbie could allow hackers to eavesdrop on conversations inside family homes.
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