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Security Threats: LED Light Bulbs Can Be Hacked & Compromise Your Online Security

by Felix Omondi

Security Threats: LED Light Bulbs Can Be Hacked & Compromise Your Online Security

It now emerges that Wi-Fi enabled LED light bulbs can be used by hackers to get your Wi-Fi username and password. This security weakness was revealed by Context Information Security, a UK based company. In a statement made by the company’ security experts, they had successfully managed to hack into the Wi-Fi enabled LIFX light bulb and were able to control the lights remotely.

Security Threats: LED Light Bulbs Can Be Hacked & Compromise Your Online SecurityLIFX light bulbs are able to give users network connectivity and can be switched on and off using smartphones. Michael Jordon, the Research Director at Context Information Security, narrated to BBC how he was able to hack into the network system of a household with the LED light bulbs installed and was able to obtain their Wi-Fi password and username.

He also said that they went further to purchase the same bulbs and studied how the light bulbs communicated with each other. They discovered that the bulbs exchanged passwords and username among other information, and any would be hacker can mimic a bulb seeking to join the network using readily accessible and inexpensive technology and could steal the wireless network credentials. Jordon explained that it only took two experts just two weeks to hack into the system.

The light bulb works by receiving commands from the smartphone app and transmits the commands to all the bulbs through a wireless mesh network. LIFX, the manufacturer of these bulbs have taken measures to ensure the security of the users; they updated their software to overcome the vulnerability reported by Context Information Security.

For those of you might not know much about LIFX, it began as a campaign on Kickstarter running on the slogan ‘light bulb reinvented’. The company received more than 13-times funding over its original target on Kickstarter. Despite the company coming forth and stating there is a potential security glitch on the distribution of network configuration details, so far there have not been any reported cases of affected customers.

LIFX said, “We recommend that all users need to stay updated with the most recent app and firmware updates.”

As technology keeps evolving for the better, we find more and more devices becoming connected to the network, in what has come to be referred to as the ‘Internet of Things.’ But with the growing numbers of networked and connected devices, so does the possibility of finding more loopholes for hacking into the network become greater.

The traditional devices to be networked such as laptops and phones have already had enough time to attend to any security loopholes, but with the entrance of more new devices into the ‘Internet of Things’ chances are there exist a security loophole yet to be discovered and sealed. Our best hope is that hackers on their side are not working overtime to discover these loopholes before the security experts learn how to seal them.

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