How hackers can use smart lights to steal your information
In the age of smart homes, buying a smart light bulb is pretty normal. Be it Philips Hue or some other brand, there are plenty of smart LEDs in the market that create the right ambience for every moment. However, if a new study is anything to go by, these same smart bulbs can also be used to steal your personal information. Here's how.
Smart lights can compromise personal data, says study
In a recent study, titled Light Ears: Information Leakage via Smart Lights, a group of Indian-origin researchers suggested that hackers can use certain capabilities of smart lights to steal your personal data. Now, at first, the idea of a light bulb stealing information sounds weird, but the researchers made the claim with surety, after looking at the loopholes existing in popular smart light bulbs.
How these bulbs can steal data?
The center of the issue appears to be electromagnetic or infrared radiation, which is invisible to the naked eye but can be controlled. According to the researchers, who hail from the University of Texas, San Antonio, if your light bulb emits infrared radiation and connects directly to a home network device, hackers can use the radiation to send commands and steal your data.
Any data from the connected device can be stolen
The researchers emphasized that hackers using this technique could steal any data stored on the connected device. "Most users don't know that the invisible [infrared] wave spectrum can be controlled. You can misuse those lights," Murtuza Jadliwala, professor and director of Security, Privacy at UTSA, said in a statement. "Any data can be stolen: texts or images. Anything that is stored in a computer."
So, how to avoid such attacks?
First, you should look to buy a smart light bulb that doesn't emit electromagnetic radiation. However, the research team has stressed on finding a bulb that connects with a smart home hub and not directly with a network device. This would keep the device and its data, be it a Wi-Fi login password or something else, completely safe.