Safety is something that the world is concerned with nowadays, and smart homes are becoming a thing. I was wondering if the Nest device that I have used could be hacked. It’s been a small concern of mine, but I have done some research and would like to share with you.
Can Nest Guard be hacked? As this is a device that is connected to Wi-Fi, there is always a chance that it can be hacked into. For the most part, Nest has remained untouched, but there are a couple of instances of breaches that pertain to Wi-Fi safety.
There is a lot more you may be curious about, and that’s why I’ve got more to tell you below this. So if you want to know how you can prevent hacking, how you can tell, and what you can do, keep reading!
Hacking the Nest
When you purchase something like this, you want to be able to trust that it’s going to do its job and have no issues from outside sources. That’s something that you want to not have a doubt about.
Unfortunately, with these systems, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. There can be some outside influence.
The easy connectivity that this provides with being able to install security cameras on the internet also allows hackers to be able to access and disable your cameras with a few commands on the keyboard. They have even found that in some instances, they can disable your camera with Bluetooth.
One of the major gateways for hackers is when you’re sending a wi-fi SSID or password across Bluetooth. With that, the camera will crash and reboot, which gives the hackers about a minute and a half to be able to get in and mess with your camera and its’ settings, all without you even being aware.
This was a flaw that was back in 2017. Since then, they have improved the firmware and everything should be more “heavily armored.” They suggested at this point that people just unplugged the camera until the updates were made because they weren’t sure how to keep you secure with this flaw.
That’s kind of scary to think about. Something that’s supposed to make you feel secure is completely unsecured and can’t be trusted.
“It’s Not Daddy.”
One of the stories that has been shared on the instance of the devices being hacked is one that was in Long Island, New York. This mother recalls the story of how every day after school, her son would talk to his dad through the Nest camera because you could attach your cellphone to it.
Her son came running up to her saying; “It’s not daddy talking to me. It’s not daddy.”
When she walked into the room, the stranger on the other end of the camera addressed her. She had no idea how long this person had been watching their son.
They had installed the Nest Camera as a nanny cam of sorts to make sure their son was okay. When she called, the company suggested that she change the passwords and switch to a two-step verification. This wasn’t enough for this terrified mom.
When Nest was asked about this scenario, this was their response:
“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. We are proactively alerting affected customers to reset their passwords and set up two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of account security. Customers can reach out to Nest customer support with questions or report anything suspicious to [email protected].”
This isn’t exactly what you would want to hear, but at least you know that it’s not a flaw that’s within Nest itself, that these people are doing this themselves to hack into the camera. Why? No one would know for sure but the person that decided that today was the day they would hack into the Nest camera.
The Good and Bad
When you’re thinking of buying a Nest Guard, you would obviously want to know the pros and the cons of the device. So, welcome to that section. We’ll explore the pros and cons of the Guard and what you can do about it.
With every device, there are some things you should take into consideration. The benefits of this device are the following:
- The App
- Nest detect
- Works with other Nest devices
- Quiet open
- Accessible history
With Nest, you’re able to download an app that will help you to monitor your home even when you’re not there. That’s one of the great things about this device. With the Nest Detect, you’re able to put this up and on a wall, door, or whatever and it will detect motion and alert you.
Nest had the desire to create a “connected home”, and by this desire, they have made it so that the other Nest devices in the home can talk to each other. That’s one of the features of this Guard.
The quiet open is nice because you don’t have to worry about disarming and arming the alarm system. It’s possible to open doors without doing that.
Accessing history allows you to be able to look at the past activity that has occurred in your house in the past ten days, which can help assure you of your safety.
Now we’re moving onto the part that you’ve probably been waiting for. The cons of the Nest Guard. Luckily, it’s shorter than the pros. Here you go:
- Wasted Detect features
- No Assistant
The price is a little steep with this device, but isn’t your safety worth a little bit of money? Granted, you may not want to fork out $500 for a starter pack. But this comes with two tags and detects. So maybe you see that as a bargain? Perhaps not.
Unfortunately, when you’re placing a Detect, you aren’t able to put them in windows. They will not work there, even though you may have an assortment of windows in your home. They also go for about $60 per Detect.
Unlike the majority of the Nest devices, this one isn’t able to connect to Google Assistant, which allows you to be able to talk and change settings or whatever you need to do in case your arms are full. Well, get ready to place that pile of laundry on the floor so you can fix the Guard.
Although there are some solid pros and cons, the most important thing is that you should be willing to do some research yourself. If your friends or family have one, ask how they like it.
Only you can really tell if you’re intending on buying this device after reading the previous lists.
If safety is something that’s important to you, perhaps you’ll consider it.
Feel Like Somebody’s Watching?
Unfortunately, there are more stories that I’m going to share about Nest being hacked. This may deter you away from the device, but know that this wasn’t because there was a loophole within the company. The Wi-Fi connection that you have could be the perfect gateway for such a thing.
How would you feel if you woke up in the middle of the night to hear someone’s voice saying crude things which broadcasts into your four-month olds room? Well, that’s exactly what happened to a couple.
When they realized that the voice was coming from the baby monitor, they got up to go check on their child. Upon turning the lights on, the camera in their room turned on, and the voice told them to turn the lights back off.
The voice continued to say frightening things, such as “I’m going to kidnap your baby.” Just not things that you would normally say.
Upon investigation, the couple found that they were hacked and unplugged their Wi-Fi and shut down the cameras. They turned to the police next.
This is something that can be a danger when you’re not even thinking about it. The baby monitor that they had in their sons’ room was connected to Wi-Fi, just like the camera in their room.
Somehow that stranger had accessed their Wi-Fi and took over the camera, which in turn would leave the couple to have felt like they were in a real-life horror movie.
You Didn’t See Anything
A couple in South Carolina had another run in, but this was with a camera that was beside their child’s’ crib, and it actually rotated.
The mother said that she was in the kitchen and heard the camera moving. As she walked into the room, she saw that the camera had moved from the bassinet to her bed, it seemed to have sensed something because as they got there, it quickly moved back to its original position.
They unplugged it immediately. The gift had been from her parents and had infrared night vision. Upon investigation, it was shown that a lot of internet-connected security cameras were able to be exploited in some manner.
The mother also remembers how sensitive the microphone was, she could hear her son’s diaper crinkle and know when he was waking up.
There had been many experiences that they had shared in that room. Originally she had thought her husband was the one that was moving the camera when he had to go back to work after paternity leave because he would check in on them.
The police came by and asked them to turn the monitor back on and see if it would do it again, but the monitor wouldn’t work, and they were denied access.
Once again, you should know that this is just something to do with your Wi-Fi, this doesn’t have any connection to Nest, besides the fact that it’s a Nest device.
Just Trying to Help Out
With this instance, there was a man that walked into his home to hear a voice. Upon walking around, he found out that someone was talking to him through the audio portion of his camera.
The voice said that they meant no harm, but that they were trying to let people know about the holes in security that were wrapped up with the Nest devices and other devices as well.
He got rid of the camera after that experience and opted for a dog. Which he believes is the best security system.
One thing that people need to be aware of is that it’s not limited to things such as these security devices. It can happen with printers, smart fridges, and thermostats.
For a recent social media hype, there had been people who hacked printers in order to print out “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” wherever they could. Although it’s not always bad intentions, it’s still interesting to see that these things can happen and it can happen so quickly.
With that being said, there are many things around us that are considered “smart.” But when we get to the things that protect our house, that reaches another level. It’s one thing to have a smartphone, TV, or fridge.
But when your home is protected by smart home tech, the stakes are higher. We can’t nonchalantly assume we’re going to be alright. We take the others for granted, but someone could be watching our every move and we wouldn’t even know it.
“I Cannot Allow That to Happen”
Speaking of thermostats, Nest came out with the integral thermostat as their first product. This is what was able to get them on the map. There’s a
A couple of Florida university students found that it was easy to hack into a Nest thermostat if you held the power button down for a selected amount of time and inserted a thumb drive with malicious software.
By doing this, they were able to change the face of the Nest Thermostat and have it say a quote from 2001: Space Odyssey from the HAL 9000, it said:
“I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I am afraid that is something I cannot allow to happen.”
Although this is all fun and games in this instance, there are a lot of things that can be done in order to protect your home from invasions that you wouldn’t want and from the wandering eyes of the world.
How Do You Know if You’re Hacked?
- Strange noises from your camera
- Abnormally rotating
- Security settings changed
- Blinking LED light
- Pay attention to Illuminated LED
- Check the data flow
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be best to shut off your device and check your Wi-Fi and other security settings that you have. You can also call the manufacturer, or if it comes to a level of seriousness that wasn’t expected, you can call the police.
Mentioned below will be some of the steps that you can take in order to ensure your safety before the hacking has occurred.
But if this has already happened, it might be better to build from the ground up. Redo your information for security purposes, make sure that you have a WPN for your Wi-Fi.
No one ever wants to experience this, where their privacy is completely and utterly violated. All the stories that I shared with you were to let you know that you never know when something like this would happen. Keep yourself safe by taking precautions.
Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe
One of the best things that you can do is to make sure that you have a firewall installed on your home computer, that way you can have relief that you at least have that.
Having a WPN on your wireless router is something that would be very beneficial in order to ensure that those that are trying to get into your cameras or computers would have a harder chance.
As Nest suggested, do a two-factor verification. But the important thing is that you don’t give your information out to anyone. Unless they are within your household, keeping that information to yourself would be the best, just in case.
This has been a lot to process, not to mention some interesting stories. But as you take the precautions listed above, you have a higher chance of not being hacked. So, take the time to make sure all the backdoors are covered.
Safety is important to all of us. Don’t get careless and assume you’re fine. Take the steps to be sure that you know that you are safe.
Can Wi-Fi cameras be hacked? Ensuring that you have a strong password and a firewall will help prevent them from being hacked. A few have been hacked before, and it’s about being willing to take the necessary steps towards safety.
Can the Nest Thermostat spy on me? The thermostat has settings so that it can learn your heating and cooling preferences. They will remember and adjust to that. No one can hack into your thermostat unless they physically access the device.