What if a hacker could use an ordinary, dumb, old-fashioned light bulb to spy on your conversations from afar? Here's the bad news.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how hackers might breach your privacy? Maybe it's the use of common and weak passwords or the reuse of strong ones across multiple accounts? Perhaps you would plump for critical vulnerabilities affecting Windows 10 and Android operating systems? You may even, rightly, worry that your smart home devices are vulnerable to a hacker attack. But what about that household essential, found in every room and about as "dumb" and disconnected as you can get, the light bulb? Yep, hackers have found a way to eavesdrop on conversations from as far as 80 feet (25 meters) away thanks to a hanging light bulb.
Can any light bulb open the door to hackers?
Security researchers based at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, have been looking at methods of eavesdropping on private conversations without needing to compromise a device with malware first. This type of hacking research isn't unique, and only last year, it was revealed that Alexa, Google Home, and Siri could potentially be compromised using lasers pointed at the device microphones. But this latest research goes beyond merely turning a device on or off as was the case with the laser pointer exploit. Indeed, these bright hackers don't even need the victim of the eavesdrop to be using a "smart" device in the first place. As long as there's a "dumb" but essential light bulb in the same room, it's all systems go. Well, sort of.