Philips hue lightbulbs easily hackable, blackouts imminent

Aug 14, 2013
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Philips kind of blew our minds with the hue, which is an LED lightbulb that can be controlled with your smartphone or computer. Of course, though, there had to be a catch, and it seems like that catch is that the lightbulb is easily hackable, allowing users with a dark mind to put the lights out on an unsuspecting Philips hue owner.

How does the hack work, exactly? Research by Nitesh Dhanjani reveals that hue's control system uses a less-than-secure authentication system that's used to communicate with devices in order to turn on and off lights. How secure is this authentication system? Well, it just uses the MAC address, which is highly easy to breach into.

All it takes is a little bit of malware to be installed into the control system and hackers will be able to reveal the lightbulb's MAC address. From there, they can turn the lightbulb on and off without having the owner's device on hand.

Of course, the hack won't steal any personal information (unless you store your personal information in a lightbulb, which would be odd and impossible), but it can cause a little of grief and we're guessing it would be a little more than just annoying. Technically, it could be dangerous if the lightbulb goes off at the right time.

Obviously, this isn't a widespread problem right now, as smart lightbulbs have yet to go mainstream, but it's certainly something that Philips and other smart lightbulb makers might want to fix early on before the popularity of such products skyrockets.


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