Hackers Can Exploit Smart Lights to Spy on You – Study

Simple chips in smart tech allow for easy breach of privacy

Image Credits: David Becker / Stringer / Getty.

Hackers can exploit smart lightbulbs to steal your personal information and spy on you, a new study warns.

The hack is achieved when bad actors instruct infrared-enabled smart bulbs to send the invisible light to access your personal devices on your home network, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Your smart bulb could come equipped with infrared capabilities, and most users don’t know that the invisible wave spectrum can be controlled,” said a UTSA professor and director of the Security, Privacy, Trust and Ethics in Computing Research Lab. “You can misuse those lights.”

“Any data can be stolen: texts or images. Anything that is stored in a computer.”

The victim is likely to never be aware of the breach because the hack is communicated within his or her own Wi-Fi network rather than the Internet.

“Think of the bulb as another computer,” said the professor. “These bulbs are now poised to become a much more attractive target for exploitation even though they have very simple chips.”

The lightbulb’s simple design and near-ubiquitous use are what’s causing the researchers to warn manufacturers to do a better job in preventing security gaps in their products.

Correspondingly, consumers spent $8 billion purchasing smart bulbs last year and are expected to spend $28 billion on them in less than a decade.

This story brings to mind a recent development where televisions were reportedly projecting ultrasonic sounds to nearby smartphones to track the owner’s activity and steal their personal data.

That’s right, invisible infrared light via smart lightbulbs and inaudible sounds from TVs can be exploited to spy on unsuspecting consumers.



Watch Alex Jones break down this privacy violation and more on today’s live broadcast.

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