​New study warns that smart light bulbs could allow hackers to steal your personal data

​New study warns that smart light bulbs could allow hackers to steal your personal data

  • UTSA researchers found out that the invisible wave spectrum in the smart bulbs, that come equipped with infrared capabilities, could be controlled by hackers.
  • Hackers can then send commands to such smart bulbs to either steal data or spoof other connected devices on the home network, via the infrared invisible light emanated from the bulbs.

What is the problem?

A new study titled “Light Ears: Information Leakage via Smart Lights”, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has revealed that smart light bulbs could allow hackers to steal your personal information.

Key highlights

The researchers have reviewed the security holes that exist in popular smart-light brands and have determined that the next prime target for cyberattacks could be smart bulbs that are connected to other home devices.

  • UTSA researchers found out that the invisible wave spectrum in the smart bulbs, that come equipped with infrared capabilities, could be controlled by hackers.
  • Researchers noted that some smart bulbs connect to a home network without requiring a smart home hub, and if these smart bulbs are infrared-enabled, then hackers can interact with them.
  • Hackers can send commands to such smart bulbs via the infrared invisible light emanated from the bulbs to either steal data or spoof other connected devices on the home network.

“Your smart bulb could come equipped with infrared capabilities, and most users don’t know that the invisible wave spectrum can be controlled. You can misuse those lights. Any data can be stolen: texts or images. Anything that is stored in a computer,” Murtuza Jadliwala, professor and director of the Security, Privacy, Trust and Ethics in Computing Research Lab in UTSA’s Department of Computer Science said.

Recommendations

Jadliwala also provided recommendations to avoid smart bulbs from getting exploited, which include

  • Consumers should prefer bulbs that come with a smart home hub rather than those that connect directly to other home devices.
  • He also recommends smart bulb manufacturers to implement security measures to limit the level of access that smart bulbs have to other connected home devices.