Philips Hue Light Bulbs Are Highly Hackable

Illustration for article titled Philips Hue Light Bulbs Are Highly Hackable

If you're the proud owner of some smart Philips Hue light bulbs, watch out for blackouts—because the bulbs seem to be susceptible to malicious attacks according to new research.

Work by Nitesh Dhanjani shows that Hue's control portal—referred to as "the bridge"—uses a pretty shaky authentication system to communicate wirelessly with devices like phones and tablets. In fact, it uses the MAC address of the bridge in its communication—which makes it a cinch to hack and, well, switch off.


In the video below, Dhanjani injects malware into the bridge via a malicious website, allowing him to find the MAC address straight away. He then proceeds to turn the Hue bulbs off again and again, regardless of the switch being flipped on or off itself. In reality it's difficult to see how this could cause a widespread problem, given it's device specific, but it could be at least irritating and at worst dangerous. It's currently unclear what Philips is doing to address the problem. [Nitesh Dhanjani via The Register]

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Nate with shorter name

That was sort of the point of these bulbs though. They are supposed to be hackable. You are supposed to be able to extend the capabilities of this lighting system by writing your own code or using third party apps.

That you can run malicious code on a programable system should hardly be a shock.