DefCon: Hacking Has Become Child?s Play

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DefCon, a conference which is about the most official the hacking community will probably ever get, had a more youthful feel this year.

The 18-year-conference had a new feature to it in 2011: Kids Village. It's here that the hacking and security industry's finest teach 60 8 to 16-year-old hacking wannabes all about "white hat" hacking. White hat hacking is hacking for a responsible reason, someone who is ensuring the security of a company or an organization's information system.

The hacking information presented in Kids Village wasn't too complex. The experts taught the kids how to open Master locks, hack Google, code Scratch and persuade information out of others. Mostly, the kids were taught responsible hacking.

There were games and contests held for the kids, with the winners getting cash prizes. It should be noted that all of the kids were accompanied by an adult.

The highlight of the Kids Village came from a 10-year-old girl, who goes by the hacking name CyFi. The youngster, who is also a Girl Scout, showed the crowd how she found a shortcut through a social game.

CyFi said that advancing the clock on many games on phones and tablets can open a loophole that can be exploited. She discovered this after becoming tired with the game's glacial pace.

Farming games like "Farmville" make players wait before they can harvest a crop grown from virtual seeds. Not wanting to wait, she disconnected her phone from Wi-Fi and re-set the clock forward in small increments. This fast-forwarded the game and opened up a new class of vulnerabilities.

In the presentation, CyFi said this loophole showed how world of apps has obviously not thought about security yet.

CyFi, who did not reveal her real name, did not give away the game. She wanted to give the game developers a chance to fix the loophole. Her discovery was verified by independent security researchers.

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