Can LED light bulbs become the next target for hackers?

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Controlling LED lighting with smart features can help us in our everyday life, but it does also pose a risk; will our homes become victims of a hacking attack in the future?

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) offers a lot of different benefits, which we have written about in a previous blog post. IoT allows us to control everyday objects smarter by using sensors and microprocessors, that enables us to control the lighting in an entirely new way. But, the connection of a bunch of wireless devices using the IoT also pose a threat, as hackers might easily obtain access to the devices and spread viruses.

Hackers attacking light bulbs

A paper on the topic from 2016 uncovered a flaw in the “smart” and wireless technology, which is often included in the electronic home devices that are getting more popular. These flaws allow hackers to control the light bulbs, which might not be a big problem with only one light bulb. But think about the threat if an entire city had installed wireless light bulbs and the hackers could get access to them all by only getting access to one single device. The report also showed that it is not even necessary for the hackers to have direct access to the devices; if only they can get near them, they might be able to perform the hacking.

Now you might think, what harm hackers could do, if they hacked your LED light bulbs? Here are the answers:

Create programs
First of all, we have seen examples of programs that hackers use to steal information or send spam. Such a program could be used to create a lot of traffic on the network, which ultimately might lead to a shut down of the server that is connected to the LED lamps.

Hazardous light
Hackers could also create light that flickers or turns into strobe patterns, which can make you uncomfortable and could trigger epileptic seizures.

What can be done?

So, we know there is a threat when we have installed wireless LED light bulb in our house, but what can we do? Of course, there are precautions that you can take to avoid the attacks. First of all, it is important that you make strong password, both for your Wi-Fi and the devices. This makes it harder for the hackers to gain access to your devices. Secondly, you must make sure that you always install any available updates for your devices instantly. Lastly, make sure to keep an eye out for any possible threats and read the information provided by the manufacturer about the products you buy.

If you take the above precautions, you should not be afraid that your devices get hacked, but we believe it is important to know the risks of the wireless LED light bulbs and other wireless devices.

Source: NY times