The infrared remote control had been once widely used before Bluetooth kicks in. There are many systems that still use infrared as their control interface. With the popularity of smart devices with IR related components, this ancient technology may bring some new attack surfaces back.
As an essential technical background, we reviewed the list of devices still using IR in the smart home today, analyzed their hardware designs and instructions. After that, we traversed new devices with components that could interact with infrared signals, such as face recognition systems, night vision infrared cameras, slow-motion cameras, etc. These components are not designed for control purpose, but they could be exploited.
On the TX side, the infrared fill lights of the internet-connected night vision surveillance camera could be used by invaders, to control the home devices illegally. We will make a demonstration lively. This kind of IR transmitters exists in many other devices, such as the structured light sensor in mobile phones, clock-in machines, face-recognition door locks. If an outdoor IR fill lights with much great TX power are used this way, devices in a quite larger area could be influenced.
On the RX side, we have designed a gadget to capture, re-transmit and internet-relay the IR control signals. A live demonstration would be made also. Designs will be released in open source license after the talk. Actually, as the CMOS sensors are sensitive to infrared light, the cameras on cellphones are able to ‘see’ the IR signal. With the performance promotion of ‘slow motion videoing’ function in the smartphone and the application of algorithms, the IR control code could be recorded by smartphones in the near future. At last, a potential tracing technology for videoing which could cause privacy violation will be discussed.