Smart Bulbs: Next big target for cyberattacks?

smart bulb

Researchers at UTSA have recently discovered that invisible wave spectrum in smart bulbs which come equipped with infrared abilities can be taken advantage of and be controlled by hackers.

Hackers can go on to send commands to bulbs to steal data or spoof other devices on the home network via the infrared light that is emitted from the bulbs.

Why is it concerning?

The study titled “Light Ears: Information Leakage via Smart Lights” was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) found that infrared enabled smart bulbs are capable of allowing hackers to steal personal data. 

Highlights from the report

  • The researchers tested popular brands of bulbs that have security holes. They concluded that smart bulbs can be the next big thing for cyberattacks. 
  • The researchers found out that some of the smart light bulbs did not require a home hub and on top of that if your bulb has infrared enabled. It is pretty vulnerable to hackers. 
  • Hackers then use the infrared bulb to send commands that will eventually steal data or spoof other 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.

How to protect yourself from it?

Prefer normal smart bulbs that have home hub settings enabled rather than the ones which directly connect with other home devices. 


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