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LIFX smart bulb security vulnerability a warning for IoT devices

7/07/2014 by


CONTEXT Information Security says its researchers have exposed a security vulnerability in the LIFX Internet-enabled Wi-Fi LED light bulb.

Context said that by gaining access to the master bulb, it was able to control all connected light bulbs and expose user network configurations. LIFX has issued a patch, which is now available as a firmware update.

According to Context, this vulnerability highlights security issues with the latest wave of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

“It is clear that in the dash to get onto the IoT bandwagon, security is not being prioritised as highly as it should be in many connected devices,” said Michael Jordon, Research Director at Context.

“We have also found vulnerabilities in other internet connected devices from home storage systems and printers to baby monitors and children’s toys. IoT security needs to be taken seriously, particularly before businesses start to connect mission critical devices and systems.”

The LIFX bulb was launched in September 2012 with crowd funding through the Kickstarter website. The architecture, based on the 802.15.4 6LoWPAN wireless mesh network, requires only one bulb to be connected to the wifi at a time.

Context researchers, by physically interrogating the master bulb’s embedded microcontrollers, managed to access the firmware, and identify and understand the encryption mechanism in use. By monitoring packets on the mesh network the researchers identified the specific packets which shared the encrypted network configuration among the bulbs.

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