The rise of easy-to-install home security systems and cameras to monitor rooms has been met with widespread positive feedback, but one family has shared their experiencing of a Nest camera hacking that left them terrified for their safety.
A contributor for The Mercury News reports receiving a call from his nanny while both he and his wife were out of the home. The nanny shared that she could hear a voice speaking to her and the couple's 18-month-old son through their Nest home cameras. Immediately concerned, as both he and his wife had not been using the cameras to communicate, Jack Newcombe began searching the recorded footage.
While reviewing the footage, Newcombe noticed that an unrecognizable female voice began speaking through the camera, commenting on the house, and asking the nanny to speak with her. When the nanny fails to respond, Newcombe reports hearing that voice say “I’m coming for the baby if you don’t answer me, b*tch!”. Obviously terrified, the nanny took the 18-month-old to the park to get out of the home, and the family promptly unplugged the cameras and changed all of their Nest-associated passwords.
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Despite the sense of security that these systems can offer their users, the hacking of home security and video surveillance systems is hardly a new subject. Other parents have shared that their systems have also been hacked, hackers have threatened to kidnap their children, and some hackers have even gone so far as to play inappropriate material over the cameras for children to listen to. All of this begs the question; do home security and surveillance systems really make homes safer? Or does the risk outweigh the benefits?
Naturally, systems that offer two-way audio, including the Nest system, can be incredibly useful, but cybersecurity is a major concern. Google recommends adding 2-step verification to protect these systems, while Tom's Guide suggests choosing entirely new passwords for every account that contain a variety of letters, numbers, and other symbols.
Newcombe reports that Google (the company under which Nest operates) has done virtually nothing other than suggesting 2-step verification to solve the issue. Ultimately, the decision lies with each family regarding the installation of systems like Nest. Are there risks associated with the use of these systems? Of course, but each family needs to weigh these concerns and decide if a Nest system will really improve their sense of security, or if it could lead to more issues.