There is no doubt that a lot of people are switching to smart bulbs this season. In fact, Amazon’s indoor lighting best sellers category is dominated by smart bulbs. While the convenience these smart bulbs bring needs no explanation, a recent study reveals that there are security loopholes in major smart bulb brands.

Researchers from the University of Texas, San Antonio reviewed the security of smart light bulbs and published their study titled “Light Ears: Information Leakage via Smart Lights” in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.

“Your smart bulb could come equipped with infrared capabilities, and most users don’t know that the invisible wave spectrum can be controlled. You can misuse those lights,” said Murtuza Jadliwala, professor and director of the Security, Privacy, Trust and Ethics in Computing Research Lab in UTSA’s Department of Computer Science.

Smart bulbs these days connect directly to the home network through Wi-Fi eliminating the need for a smart home hub. I do agree that smart bulbs without a hub are indeed convenient but it comes with security risks. For instance, researchers say that hackers could send commands through IR light on IR-enabled bulbs to steal data from the bulb or from other IoT devices connected to the same home network.

The researchers recommend consumers to choose smart bulbs that require a smart home hub over the ones that don’t need a hub to function for being on the safer side. “Think of the bulb as another computer. These bulbs are now poised to become a much more attractive target for exploitation even though they have very simple chips.”, said the researchers.

So, do you use smart indoor lighting accessories that work without a smart home hub? Let us know in the comments.