Do you imagine if a hacker could spy on your Conversation using just a Light-bulb? You could think I’m just crazy… But believe it or not, they can. They’re called Lamphone Attacks.

When you hear the word “Hack”, you think about weak passwords or systems vulnerabilities. But it seems like your privacy doesn’t just depend on your devices anymore.

Someone could spy on your secret conversations, from a nearby location, by observing just a light bulb. 

How does Lamphone Attacks Work?

This is done by measuring the amount of light it emits, without having to be in the same room, in a completely passive manner. 

This side-channel attacking technique was studied, developed, and demonstrated by a team of cybersecurity researchers.

The project was led by Ben Nassi of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel). And it focuses on getting information out of air-gapped systems, at very low bandwidths.

Although this is not completely new and isn’t exactly the type of hacking techniques we tend to report, it’s a trend to be aware of.

There have been other privacy and security breaches revealed recently, but in this case, the danger it’s on the fact that you don’t need tech around you to get information leaked.

Just to mention… Alexa, Siri, and Google home’s security could be broken with lasers, pointing to the device’s microphones.

Vibrations-detecting high tech cameras are also very known to be used for a similar purpose… But none of this would happen in a small to mid-size business context. 

On the other hand, Lamphone attacks can be executed fast, passively, and are hard to detect.  

To understand the power of this, the researches used Google Cloud Speech for its conversation-transcribe feature. With the help of Shazam and SoundHound, it was correctly identified what was being played, proving the high sound accuracy of this method

Fortunately for you, there are some exceptions to the light bulb rule. 

First of all, hackers would need a clear sightline between the objective (hanging light bulb) and the telescope at their spot, with its electro-optical sensor. 

That means, it can be stopped with curtains or blinds blocking the window… As well as lampshades of any kind.

The Ligh bulb’s glass thickness and the light output also influence the effectiveness of this attack.  The quality and volume of the leaks will depend on the distance and tools used.

Distance to Hear with Lamphone 1
Distance Limit to Hear with Lamphone 2

It can examine light bulb’s frequency response to sound, and listen or look into what’s being said in a room at a 25 meters away distance. 

The researches confirm that this range can be amplified when upgrading to a bigger telescope, a $400 electro-optical sensor, and a 24/32 bit analog-to-digital converter

How Does This Have to do with You and IT?

If you’re feeling paranoid, then close your windows and turn the lights off… That way your top-secret meetings cannot be heard anymore. 

No, but seriously… This is a scary world we live in.

The reality is, we only want your safety and peace of mind. 

There are hundreds of thousands of different ways hackers can intercept your valuable information, and that’s where we fight them back.

If the most challenging aspect of your business it is not probably getting sales, but keeping what’s yours, then don’t worry.

We support your business and its servers 24/7. 

At MyITGuy, we will guide you on hard times, and solve all the technical troubleshooting when you most need it.