Listening conversation by watching a Light bulp

That cyber attacks are evolving and improving on a daily basis is proved by the latest findings from researchers at Israel's Ben – Gurion University of the Negev and Weizmann Institute of science,  that will be presented at the Black Hat USA 2020 conference this August.

The team of cyber security researchers have demonstrated an attack recovering sound from the room of a victim that has an overhead hanging light bulp by capturing sound waves throught an electro – optical sensor and using it to recover sounds.




The attack relies on detecting vibrations from hanging bulbs when sound waves hit the surfaces. The attackers could abuse it for malicious intentions such as theft of important data or extortion based on private information from the victim.


Equipment used for this kind of attack consists of the telescope which provides a close-up view of the room, electro – optical sensor that converts light into an electrical current, an analog-digital converter to transform the output and a laptop / computer to process these signals and output the sound data.


Lamphone attack cannot be carried out if the lightbulp has decorative covers and if conversations held in rooms without windows. The quality of eavesdropping also depends on the distance between people in the room and the light bulb and the volume of the conversation.


In this experiment, the researchers successfully recovered speech of Donald Trumpand and two songs from a distance of 25 meters.


These kind of attacks were also tested last year, where it was shown that it is possible to compromise devices by pointing the laser to a device's microphone and sending »light commands«, such as Alexa, Google Home and Siri.


Adrien Osenjak, PRO.astec

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