Update: After we published the original post below, reports came out that Google had “forgotten” to tell consumers that some of their Nest security devices contained a hidden microphone that was not listed in the technical specifications–adding yet another possible avenue for privacy violations. Click here to read the full report.
Is your smart home security camera truly secure? With the popularity of smart cameras like Nest on the rise, the number of hackers who can access these cameras–and their wireless networks–are on the rise as well.
If you have installed, or are considering using Nest cameras in your home, it’s wise to inform yourself about the security concerns that accompany these devices, and the steps necessary to eliminate these weaknesses from your network as well, so your home is safe from both physical and virtual intruders.
The Camera Can Be Disabled via Bluetooth
One major issue with a wireless security camera such as the ones carried by Nest is that they can be pretty vulnerable. In the case of Nest, in fact, they are so vulnerable that with a simple Bluetooth command, any hacker can disconnect the camera.
Nest has been made aware of this issue, and they have developed a solution to fix the problem to keep consumers safe from this easy hack. However, addressing the issues requires software updates, which not all Nest users may be aware are necessary. In other words, many of them are still susceptible to hacking.
When this kind of hack occurs, the camera is forced to crash and reboot – a process that takes about 90 seconds, which is more than enough time for a burglar to enter a home, entirely unseen by a camera.
Glitches like this are absolutely fixable but require constant monitoring for updates to ensure the operating system is the safest, most secure version running. In the meantime, this glitch has been published. It’s common knowledge, which means that if your system is out of date, it could be vulnerable to this sort of hack right now.
Connecting to WiFi Opens the Door for Hacking
Another security issue with home security cameras like Nest is that they function via WiFi. This gives homeowners the opportunity to check security footage via an app on their phone no matter where they are. However, it also means hackers can use the Nest camera as a way to get into a WiFi network, where they can access credit card information, social security numbers, emails, photos, and any other protected personal information. This is done through a process referred to as a KRACK attack.
What is a KRACK attack? KRACK is an acronym that stands for key reinstallation attacks. Basically, an attacker within range can use a Nest camera (and any other device, for that matter) as a way to get into the network – no matter the level of protection. This also creates the opportunity for injecting malware or ransomware.
The only way to protect your network from this kind of attack is installing security updates as soon as they become available. Again, the Nest team is already aware of this issue and has detailed information on how to install the security updates to handle the vulnerabilities. But these software updates need to remain as current as possible to keep networks protected.
Hackers Can Even Hijack a Camera and Broadcast Their Voice
Here is one of the most unsettling examples of just how unsecured smart home cameras can be. This hacker in Calgary, Alberta was able to access the Nest camera of a home in Arizona, and project his voice to the homeowner.
His reason for broadcasting his voice into a stranger’s home, thousands of miles away, in what can only be perceived as the creepiest hack ever, was to demonstrate to the homeowner that his network wasn’t truly as strong as was believed. He claimed he wanted to bring awareness of the flaws in the Nest system to the smart home security company.
A less savory example of this sort of hacking includes a multitude of accounts of strangers hacking into Nest cameras installed in a family’s nursery. Without updates to defend against these kinds of invasions, the safe, welcoming environment of a nursery can quickly become a nightmare.
If you have a Nest camera in your home, don’t panic. Many of these hackings occur when users duplicate passwords between accounts, and the account with the shared password was compromised. Strong, secure, and unique passwords and two-factor authorizations are the best way to prevent the weakness in a smart home security system that allows this type of hacking to occur. But a stronger way to prevent these dangerous vulnerabilities is with a home security system that is separate from the network.
Do you have additional questions about security cameras that won’t invite hackers into your home? Are you ready to talk to the professionals at Dynamark about a truly secure home security system? Contact us today to learn more about how our highly trained technicians and state-of-the-art technology can help keep your home not only safe but “secure” as well.