Researchers have discovered a novel way to spy on conversations that are happening in houses from almost a hundred feet away. The hack stems simply from a lightbulb hanging in the home.
The hack, dubbed “lamphone,” is performed by analyzing the tiny vibrations of a hanging lightbulb, which are caused by nearby sounds. All an attacker would need is a laptop, as well as a telescope and an electro-optical sensor (altogether costing less than $1,000). They would also need to set up near the window of a room that contains the hanging lightbulb.
“Fluctuations in the air pressure on the surface of the hanging bulb (in response to sound), which cause the bulb to vibrate very slightly (a millidegree vibration), can be exploited by eavesdroppers to recover speech and singing, passively, externally, and in real time,” said researchers with the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Weizmann Institute of Science, in a paper published this week.