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Sock It To 'Em Ada

Hacker Girl to Droid and iOS Games: Your Vulnerabilities, Let Me Show You Them

In what was probably the cutest presentation with serious consequences at this year’s Las Vegas located DEF CON, a ten-year-old attendee stepped up and showed off her hack of farm-based games for Droid and iOS devices to all the other computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, crackers, cyber-criminals, and hackers around. According to CNET, @CyFi’s zero-day exploit has since been confirmed by independent researchers, and some developers are already taking steps to block her hack.

Her motivation for discovering the exploit? Quite simple:

“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?’” Most of the games she discovered the exploit in have time-dependent factors. For example, planting corn might take 10 real-time hours to mature in the game. Manually advancing the phone or tablet’s clock forced the game further ahead than it really was, opening up the exploit.

Even some games that have taken stops to block this exploit remain vulnerable when they are not connected to a wifi signal or a 3G network.

Already an artist who has performed an improvised, 10-minute-long spoken word piece in front of 1,000 people at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a Girl Scout, and a state-ranked downhill skier, CyFi revealed that she was only a little bit nervous about having to speak in front of the 100 or so expected attendees. She admitted that while it was probably different publicly speaking about a topic with such a specific focus, it would be hard for her to imagine what those differences might be. “Well, I haven’t done it yet,” she said.

While a “change the internal” clock hack is no Wikileaks, or cracked Assassin’s Creed DRM, or Gawker scandal; it’s pretty awesome to see that the hacker community is one that has a space for young girls to be encouraged and welcomed to participate. Today FarmVille, tomorrow… who knows?

(CNET via The Inquisitr.)


  • Nathan Eary

    I’ve been doing this since the first Tamagochi. Not really a new thing.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

  • Chris Tonitini

    ya i’ve been doing this for a while too, i tried it on a game called paradise island a while ago and they fixed it, so when you change the time everything stops so the only way to get things to work again is to go back to the date and time you had last left it.

  • Duke Fleed

    Back in the old days, you could defeat the 30-days limit on some shareware by setting your PC’s  date to a ridiculous distance in the future (say, Jan. 1st, 1999, if you were in 1992), thus giving the software until the 31st of January 1999 to work. Then you’d turn back the clock, and put it back to its original date (which could have been March 27th 1992, for instance), and enjoy years of shareware use. This didn’t work with everything however. In some cases you could simply keep on setting your date to the same day over and over again, keeping the shareware at ’30 days left’, indefinitely.

    Eventually, of course, they found better implementation for countdown in shareware and such.

    But simple tricks like that are nothing new.

  • Anonymous

  • Hannah Wick

    I used to do that with the time based events in the pokemon series.  Cute article though.

  • Katie .

    Really? I did the same thing with my pokemon games!