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Why Every CEO Should Be Moonlighting As a Hacker

December 1, 2016, 1:28 AM UTC

What if every executive had the hacking skills of Mr. Robot?

It sounds like a far-fetched idea, but Nico Sell, founder and chairman of the company responsible for encrypted messaging platform Wickr, believes it shouldn’t.

Speaking on a panel about navigating the unpredictable world at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Wednesday afternoon, Sell told the audience that her non-profit, r00tz Asylum, teaches children how to hack into connected devices and that most of them have the ability to “shut down the power grid using an iPhone.”

“The biggest question is why that hasn’t happened yet,” said the sunglasses-clad entrepreneur (she says she wears them to minimize her “digital footprint” and boasts that there are no photos of her eyes on the internet).

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For Sell, hacking is a “skill set and is the most important skill set in the world.” With more than 20 billion connected devices predicted to come online within the next five years, it’s a wonder that more business leaders aren’t signing up for hackathons.

For Sell, last month’s cyber attack on web-domain provider Dyn—a core part of the internet’s backbone—was a reminder of how much damage well-trained hackers can do; popular websites like Twitter, Etsy, Github, Vox, Spotify, Airbnb, Netflix, and Reddit were all down as a result of the attack.

And the risk of another major cyber attack “is exponentially increasing all the time,” she warned.”[Internet of Things] security is something that keeps me up at night.”