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How Hackers Can Use A Ordinary Light Bulb To Listen In On Your Conversations

There are many ways of hackers listening into your conversations like using your smartphones, smart speakers and hackers even bugging your home or car. Now it has become even more simpler researcher’s at the Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, have developed a ingenious way of listening in on our conversations in a room at a distance, by simply staring at your lightbulb.

The hack called ” Lamphone” is used by analyzing the tiny vibrations of a hanging light bulb, which are caused by nearby sounds. The hackers just needs a laptop, telescope and an electro-optical sensor, all they would have to do is set up near the window of the room that has direct sight to the hanging light bulb.

The real-time passive sound recovery from the light bulb vibrations can listen in on conversations in a room from up to 25 meters away, by understanding how a light bulbs frequency responds to sound in that room. The air pressure on the surface of the hanging light bulb (in response to sound), which causes the light bulb to vibrate very lightly, it then can be exploited by hackers to recover your speech, singing, passively, externally and in real time. Hackers will then be able to analyze the hanging light bulbs response to sound via an electro-optical sensor and learn how to isolate the audio signal from the optical signal.

The researchers have developed an algorithm that recovers sound from the optical measurements collected from the light bulbs frequency and vibrations. They say ” the method is so accurate that the sound they would recover could be played through the app shazam to identify songs you was listening to”. However you can stop the hacker listening into your conversations by using a curtain, blind, net curtain, using a lampshade and also dimming the light. The hacker will need to see the light bulb directly so if you cover it up they won’t be able to listen in.

The “Lamphone” is not the first hack of its kind, other techniques have been tried and tested in the past, such as “Gyrophone”(using mobile device sensors to recover speech from gyroscope signals) also “Visual Microphone”(using video recordings to recover passive sound). The Lamphone has an advantage compared to the others as it does not require hacking the victims device with malware. The positive for the victims is that the Lamphone doesn’t work against all types of light bulbs and that the results may vary, depending on the light bulbs make, model, glass thickness, light emission capability and technical characteristics.