Lamphone: Passive Sound Recovery from a Desk Lamp's Light Bulb Vibrations

Ben Nassi, Yaron Pirutin, Raz Swissa, Adi Shamir, Yuval Elovici, Boris Zadov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this paper, we introduce "Lamphone," an optical side-channel attack used to recover sound from desk lamp light bulbs; such lamps are commonly used in home offices, which became a primary work setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. We show how fluctuations in the air pressure on the surface of a light bulb, which occur in response to sound and cause the bulb to vibrate very slightly (a millidegree vibration), can be exploited by eavesdroppers to recover speech passively, externally, and using equipment that provides no indication regarding its application. We analyze a light bulb's response to sound via an electro-optical sensor and learn how to isolate the audio signal from the optical signal. We compare Lamphone to related methods presented in other studies and show that Lamphone can recover sound at high quality and lower volume levels that those methods. Finally, we show that eavesdroppers can apply Lamphone in order to recover speech at the sound level of a virtual meeting with fair intelligibility when the victim is sitting/working at a desk that contains a desk lamp with a light bulb from a distance of 35 meters.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium, Security 2022
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133311
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Event31st USENIX Security Symposium, Security 2022 - Boston, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 202212 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium, Security 2022


Conference31st USENIX Security Symposium, Security 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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