A Long Island mother has come forward with a frightening story about a hack of the family’s Nest camera that is sure to terrify any parents with young children at home.
Nest camera hacker invades family’s privacy
In-house security cameras that offer homeowners the opportunity to remotely view their property via a cell phone app are popular in homes across America.
Unfortunately, these “eyes in the sky” aren’t always a one-way street, as some people are discovering the hard way.
One mother with a five-year-old boy told WPIX that it was her child’s habit to chat over the security camera with his father every day after school.
Yet on a recent afternoon, the person on the other end of the line wasn’t the boy’s father; it was a cybercriminal with nefarious intent.
“My son came running out of the playroom and found me in the kitchen and said ‘It’s not daddy talking to me. It’s not daddy,'” the woman told the TV station.
“[The hacker] asked my son if he took the school bus home and he was asking him about the toys he was playing with and when my son said ‘Mommy, Mommy,’ he told him to shut up,” she recalled.
The bad guy on the other end of the line even threatened the mother when she entered the room. Though she reported the incident to police, they have been unable to track down the hacker.
When contacted, Nest said they believe the breach occurred because the family recycled a password for the system. Unfortunately, that particular password was earlier leaked during an unrelated security breach.
“We have seen instances where a small number of Nest customers have re-used passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites, and made public. None of these breaches involved Nest. This exposes these customers to other people using the credentials to log into their Nest account,” the company said in a statement.
To be clear, although this particular hack involves a Nest camera, this type of criminal activity could potentially take place with any wireless security camera system.
For that very reason, here are three critical steps you must take if you have these kinds of cameras in your home:
1. Change the password from the factory-default setting. You don’t want your hardware to be breach-able simply because you’re still using a password that infinitely guessable like ‘password’ or something silly!
2. Use two-factor authentication. This set-up requires the user to enter more information as an additional step to verify their identity. Two-factor authentication can take many forms; it could be a unique code that’s texted to your cell phone or a unique password you have to give when authorizing anything over the phone.
3. Never reuse a password! If this case doesn’t drive that point home, we don’t know what will.