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Milwaukee Couple's Nest Smart Home Hacked, Vulgar Music was Played


Smart home products designed by Nest such as smart cameras, smart displays, smart thermostats, and smart doorbells to make our lives more comfortable and safe, may not be all that safe according to a horrifying incident reported by a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based couple, Samantha and Lamont Westmoreland.

 After a hacker hacked into the couple’s home and took control of their gadgets, Samantha said, "It's (installation of gadgets) supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn't feel safe", "My heart was racing, I felt so violated at that point."

As per a report by Fox 6 News, on September 17th, Samantha returned home in which she has Nest camera, a doorbell and a thermostat installed, and found the atmosphere unreasonably warmer, she immediately noticed that her smart thermostat has risen up to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Initially, she assumed it to be a glitch and set it back to the room temperature, but it kept on going up after every time she turned it down. A while later, the couple heard a voice talking to them from their Nest camera and afterward it played vulgar music. Samantha went ahead, unplugged the camera and turned it to face the ceiling. They changed the passwords of all the three devices but as the issues persisted, they resorted to contacting their internet service provider to have their network and Ids reset.

The couple was of the opinion that their Wi-Fi network and Nest camera was hacked, putting the actual problem into perspective, Lamont Westmoreland said, "If someone hacks into your Wi-Fi, they shouldn't be able to have access to those Nest devices without some sort of wall they have to get over,"

In a conversation with Fox 6 News, the couple revealed that the smart home accessories they had installed at their home since last year, cost them $700, and that they have never faced any problem before this; however, in the wake of this terrifying incident they had a change of mind regarding smart home devices.

Meanwhile, responding to the disturbing experience, a spokesperson of Google, told a media outlet, “Nest was not breached. These reports are based on customers using compromised passwords. In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk,"

Google’s Nest Secure had a built-in microphone no one knew about


After the hacking fiasco a few weeks ago, Nest users have been more on edge about their security devices than ever before. The recent discovery of a built-in, hidden microphone on the Nest Guard, part of the Nest Secure security system, has only served to further exacerbate those concerns.

Alphabet Inc's Google said on February 20 it had made an "error" in not disclosing that its Nest Secure home security system had a built-in microphone in its devices.

Consumers might never have known the microphone existed had Google not announced support for Google Assistant on the Nest Secure. This sounds like a great addition, except for one little problem: users didn’t know their Nest Secure had a microphone. None of the product documentation disclosed the existence of the microphone, nor did any of the packaging.

Earlier this month, Google said Nest Secure would be getting an update and users could now enable its virtual assistant technology Google Assistant on Nest Guard.

A microphone built into its Nest Guard alarm/motion sensor/keypad wasn't supposed to be a secret, Google said after announcing Google Assistant support for the Nest Secure system but the revelation that Google Assistant could be used with its Nest home security and alarm system security was a surprise.

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part. The microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option,” Google said.

Google’s updated product page now mentions the existence of the microphone.

If your first thought on hearing this news is that Google was spying on you or doing something equally sinister, you aren’t alone. Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at BestVPN.com, said “Nest’s failure to disclose the on-board microphone included in its secure home security system is a massive oversight. Nest’s parent company Google claims that the feature was only made available to consumers who activated the feature manually. Presumably, nobody did this; because the feature wasn’t advertised.