10-Year-Old Hacker Finds Flaws in Video Games

Published August 08, 2011

| FoxNews.com

And you thought you hated Farmville?

A 10-year-old girl, reportedly bored with farm-style video games such as the wildly popular game Farmville, has uncovered a security flaw in mobile video games, CNET reported.

"It was hard to make progress in the game, because it took so long for things to grow. So I thought, 'Why don't I just change the time?'" the girl, who goes by the hacker name CyFi, told CNET. Doing so revealed a flaw in how the game operates: By manually advancing the clock on a phone or tablet computer to accelerate, say, the growth of a stalk of corn, she jumped ahead in the game, opening up a hole in its security.

Many games will detect and block this kind of manipulation, CNET reported; CyFi said she had discovered some ways around those blocks however.

CNET did not reveal the girl's name in order to protect her identity, other than to reveal that she was a state-ranked downhill skier, a Girl Scout, and somewhat nervous about public speaking. AFP reported that CyFi is the daughter of a pair of hackers, frequent attendees of the popular DefCon hacker conference that has run annually since 1993. 

CyFi presented her findings Sunday at Defcon Kids: a conference spawned from DefCon and -- you guessed it -- aimed at children hackers.

"Please note that parents must be with their children during any classroom or workroom sessions that they attend," the convention's website notes.  

Although only in its first year, Defcon Kids is off to a good start: The NSA brought a booth to the event to show off its cryptography program to the young hackers.

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