Science / Security / Smart Home & Smart Devices / Tech

Experiment shows smart home devices can be hacked with lasers

nest thermostat

First, to be clear, you probably do not need to freak out about this as it would take a lot of effort to set up a hack like this.

Smart home devices are a relatively new tech category but this year has seen it grow quite a bit. The security of these devices has under scrutiny since the beginning and many experts admit there is still much to understand. Whenever a new technology hits the market, you can bet someone is trying to hack it. Smart home devices are no different. The latest method to hack these devices is with lasers.

First, to be clear, you probably do not need to freak out about this as it would take a lot of effort to set up a hack like this. Most hackers probably wouldn’t have the equipment needed or not go through the effort. This experiment was conducted to show that it is possible for someone to actually do this and hopefully, manufacturers can address the issue before the hack can be refined.

smart home devices
Google, Alexa, and Siri can all be activated using a voiceprint laser.

The YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay is a channel where the host Dustin conducts science experiments on a variety of topics. This time around he was interested in the ability of lasers to hack smart home devices. The short version is this. A potential hacker could use a laser to hack just about any smart device in a home that a laser can be shined at. But first, the hacker needs to program the laser with a voiceprint to do that. So you don’t need to worry about someone just shining a random laser at your devices and hacking them. The hacker would need to have software that could record their voice and transmit that through a connected laser.

Dustin and his colleague tested this on Amazon, Google, and Apple devices and it seemed to work without too much problem. Check out the full video below, it is fairly long at nearly 20-minutes, but it is worth checking out.

This work was performed by a team of researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Electro-Communications in Japan. For more information check out their website http://lightcommands.com or contact them at lightcommandsteam@gmail.com

SmarterEveryDay

What do you think of this video? Does this cause you to worry about the security of these smart home devices? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

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