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Smart Bulbs - Are You Inviting Hackers?

- By Dwaipayan, 30 September 2020 | 4 MIN READ


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Welcome to the Quantum world! The light bulb is an example of hard-core quantum mechanics into practice – A breakthrough in the history of science. Small puzzles can lead to extreme inventions and esoteric little observations in quantum physics bring in disruptive technologies!

Today we’re racing towards improvising our inventions to the next level. The Japanese call it kaizen a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions, the word kaizen means "change for better".

From tungsten filament bulbs to neon and now “Smart" bulbs we have moved to customizable features for homeowners, like remote-controlled mood lighting, temperature control, app-based control with many settings options. But are they also a security risk?

According to a recent study, cybercriminals can use popular smart bulb brands to hack personal information.

Nearly $8 billion was spent by shoppers on smart bulbs last year, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. That sum is expected to grow more than a triple to $28 billion in the coming decade as homeowners increasingly connect their abodes to the internet.

Researchers who looked at popular smart bulb brands found that the devices come with their own risks and do not guarantee any safety from cyberattacks.

Murtuza Jadliwala, a computer science professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio says "Think of the bulb as another computer," they are now poised to become a much more attractive target for exploitation even though they have very simple chip sets”

The infrared-enabled bulb can be controlled by hackers just as the internet use the infrared wavelength to access data on someone's home digital network. Everything from text messages, photos, and videos on any computer or mobile device.

A good number of us are not aware of the invisible wave spectrum. Hackers can misuse at ease. Researchers tested smart bulbs for their vulnerability to being hacked from distances of 50 meters, however attacks cannot be ruled out from even longer distances, technologies are evolving at an amazingly fast pace.

Researchers advise shoppers to get smart bulbs that require a smart home hub, a centralized software device where internet-connected devices can communicate directly without a WiFi network. Hackers will find it hard to access at home. Things will be even better if manufacturers build in authentication protocols to verify owners, such as when a mobile application asks a smartphone user for authorization before accessing a camera or microphone.

“Smart bulbs” stand at one branch tip of a towering tree of technological innovation, take a deep look – all of it rooted in theoretical physics. The roots, too, spread out and go deep – one can discover them through famous names and obscure ones. Almost every technology of the last century has its roots in basic research and some extraordinary results. The history of science that is at our fingertips now when we flip on a light!

 

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