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Here’s how to make sure you’re patched against the exploit for your Hue Hub


A Zigbee vulnerability can let a hacker use Hue bulbs to wreck your smart home, but it was patched before it was released. Check and make sure you’re up to date!

Researchers from Check Point Software have released the details of a particularly nasty vulnerability in the Zigbee smart home protocol that has the potential to take over your Wi-Fi network and inject malware into the things connected to it. This is notable because many smart home and Internet of Things products use Zigbee, including the Philips Hue lamps and bridge that a lot of people own.

This vulnerability was patched by Philips but a lot of things use Zigbee.

The good news is that the vulnerability was patched in your Hue setup before details were made public because Check Point contacted Philips immediately after it figured this mess out. In fact, it’s been patched by a firmware update you probably already received.

The bad news is that you might own other devices that use Zigbee and they aren’t yet patched. And might never be.

How it works

  • An attacker is able to use the ZIgbee exploit to take control of a lamp connected to your Hue Bridge.
  • The attacker then messes with the settings of the lamp and does things like randomly change colors or brightness, making you think the bulb is glitched.
  • You remove the lamp from the Hue app, then let it be rediscovered.
  • The attacker then can use the “infected” lamp to take over your hub and install a piece of malware onto it.
  • This malware can allow the hacker to connect to everything on the same network and try to spread something like spyware or ransomware to smarter devices, like a computer or smartphone using other known exploits.

Check Point and Hue worked to patch the Hue Hub in mid-January. You should have received an automatic update to the Hub with this patched software by now and none of this works anymore.

Check to make sure you’re safe


Checking to make sure you’re safe is easy — open the Hue app and look in the Settings > About section to make sure you Hub/Bridge is on firmware version 1935144040 or later. If so, you’re good.

If you’re not on patched firmware, you can open the Settings > Software Update screen and you’ll find an update waiting. Install it.

Internet of Things devices are notoriously insecure and this is a perfect example of why that matters. Philips quickly and responsibly patched this exploit and Zigbee will patch against it in the next version of the protocol; though it’s the manufacturer who has the responsibility to patch devices themselves.

Most companies that make IoT devices will never update them.

Most don’t. That’s why we recommend products from companies that understand the importance of IoT security, like Signify (Philips’ parent company) or August. Someone sitting outside your house turning your lights from blue to red is simply an annoyance, but that unfolding to a situation where the next time you turn on your PC it’s locked down until you pay a hefty ransom to a hacker to decrypt the file system is pretty serious.

Everything you need to know about Google’s plan to disrupt the IoT with Android Things

Companies like Google, Samsung, and BlackBerry are working hard to make the Internet of Things more secure, but it’s a long slow process because the foundation of it all uses so many different parts. But it’s something that has to be done before things like self-driving cars or even self-reading water meters become commonplace.

Smart and Secure Lighting

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Starter Kit


$150 at Amazon

Light up your house the smart — and secure — way.

Philips Hue is one of the leaders in smart home lighting and this kit will get you set up with everything you need to get started. The starter kit includes four color-changing bulbs and the Hue Bridge to control them. Setup is a breeze and the auto-update feature means you get the latest security fixes as soon as they are available.


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Tello Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Just about anyone you’d ask is familiar with the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. What about lesser known, or newer brands?Let’s take a look at a relatively younger carrier, Tello. This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.Where can I buy an unlocked phone?Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsTips for buying a used phoneTell me about TelloTello is a newer player in the mobile field and finds itself in the increasingly crowded segment of low-cost, no-frills alternatives. Its service uses Sprint’s network for coverage but it operates with its own plans and features.What are Tello rate plans like?Tello rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. As many carriers in this space do, Tello throttles speeds once hitting the data allowance as opposed to charging overage fees.Customers can mix and match rate plans based on personal needs. A lot of users have access to Wi-Fi connections, or don’t make many calls in a month. To that end, it’s possible to dial things up or down to suit tastes; subscribers can change their plan as often as needed.Ready-made PlansThere are four ready-made plans that do a great job of meeting the demands of most users. They cost as low as $10 per month and include unlimited text and calling.$10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data$14/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$19/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 4GB of high-speed data$39/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with Unlimited high-speed dataAre there any other Tello features?Tello offers a handful of other options to its customers, including mobile hotspot and international calls. You can use any amount of your data plan to tether other devices. Calls to Mexico, Canada, and China are the same as if you called in the United States.What about international calls and texts?In addition to the aforementioned countries, Tello subscribers can make calls to other India, Cuba, and a host of other countries. Each has its own rate and can be used in a mix-and-match fashion. All one need do is purchase a Pay As You Go credit ahead of time.The credit can also be used for SMS or data, depending on which plan you’re signed up with at the time.Does Tello have a referral program?Yes, they’re called Tello Dollars and the referral program rewards you for signing up friends and family members. Share your referral link, and once your friend places their first successful order, you get $10 Tello Dollars. Your friend also gets $10 Tello Dollars.You can refer as many friends as you like and the money can be used for things like rate plans, phones, and PAYG credits.What kind of phones does Tello offer?Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through Tello we find familiar names like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. All told, there are more than two dozen phones to choose from but it’s a real tossup as to what’s available.Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsWhich carrier has the best value at $50 a month?Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?As is the case with prepaid providers or MVNO brands, selection is a mixed bag and leans more toward affordability and not performance.READ: Best phones available at TelloIt’s worth noting that the phones you order from Tello will come in plain generic packaging and may only include the charger and battery. There will be no manual, earbuds, or other accessories.Are there any phone deals with Tello?Indeed, there are plenty of phones with discounts, some ranging as high as $50 off. About half of the current roster is comprised of refurbished phones, which also means lower prices.Can I use my own phone with Tello?Yes, you can use any Sprint-compatible phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You’ll need to ensure it’s unlocked for use outside of Sprint if it was previously used with another carrier.Tello only accepts unlocked CDMA devices or unlocked multi-network phones that incorporate both CDMA and GSM technologies.Head to Tello’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.

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