Even 10-Year-Olds Are Hacking Video Games Now

At this year's DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas, for the first time kids were invited to take part. And take part they certainly did.

A new addition to the program, the "DefCon Kids Village", let little ones aged 8-16 show off their skills and be taught the ways of the good side of the force (or "white hat" hacking, in which their powers are used for good).

One kid in particular stole the show, a ten-year-old girl (and a girl scout to boot) who found a simple yet effective exploit in an "unnamed social game". Fed up with the way this game forced long waits between activity on her, she began "tinkering with the code" until she found that the game's internal clock could be fooled if you began a game on a wi-fi network then left and adjusted your phone's clock manually.

By advancing time the game unlocked things earlier than it would otherwise have done, she could unlock items and perform actions ahead of time. This exploit wasn't just casually mentioned at the show; it formed the cornerstone of her stage presentation called "Apps-A Traveler of Both Time and Space, And What I Learned About Zero-Days and Responsible Disclosure."

OK, so it's not much of a hack, and by that headline it sounds like she got a little help from the folks, but still. She's ten! If a game hadn't done what I wanted it to do at ten I'd have either cried a little or just walked away. Crying a little.

10-Year-Old Presents App Exploit at DefCon [PC Mag]

(Top photo by Isaac Brekken | AP)

You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.