by Graham Pierrepoint
Anyone who’s up on their technology will no doubt already be aware that the trend in enabling various household items to become ‘smart’ and connect via the internet has been rising for considerable years now – Amazon have only recently upped the ante by joining the fray with their Echo technology – and what it means for homeowners and gadget fans is that they will be able to control all manner of mundane items with the swipe of an app or with barely any interaction. Such popular items include smart lighting and entertainment systems – they all fall under what has become known as the ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT. However, it is smart lighting that has this week come under particular concern, according to Computer World, who report that hackers have been able to manipulate smart light bulbs.
Smart bulbs are nothing particularly new to anyone who’s been invested in IoT for some time, but news this week that researchers from both Dalhousie University in Canada and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have been able to hack into a range of such lighting technology has revealed just how sensitive the bulbs can be. The range of lighting in question that was tested was Philips’ Hue range, which can be activated and used entirely remotely – and the researchers advise that their findings, and success in hacking the bulbs, may herald the possibility of an IoT super worm coming into play.
The researchers theorize that a worm could effectively attack one bulb and then spread to other nearby IoT technology, effectively shutting down or even bricking technology completely, rendering them obsolete – not entirely dissimilar to the DDOS attacks that have brought down large corporate websites in recent years – and if one bulb is attacked, it could effectively set off a chain reaction on a ‘nuclear level’. It’s fairly unsettling news!
However, anyone using such technology needn’t worry just yet – but it’s news that will no doubt set manufacturers thinking about how best to combat such attacks, as if we are to adopt IoT technology in the mainstream, even to the point of our cities being lit up by smart bulbs, it is high time that security is placed at the very top of the list of manufacturing priorities. IoT is exciting for many people – but the rise of technology can also have its scary side!