Our homes are getting smarter by the minute, all thanks to devices such as smart displays, smart cameras, thermostats and smart doorbells. These smart home devices are designed not only to make our lives simpler but also to make us feel safe in our homes. But what if the gadgets that are supposed to make you feel secure, scare you and make you feel insecure in your own home?
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin based couple felt unsafe and insecure in their own home after a hacker hacked into their smart home and took control of their smart home gadgets. According to a report by Fox 6 News, earlier this month on September 17, Samantha Westmoreland came home and found that her smart thermostat had been turned up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (or 32 degrees Celcius). Assuming it was a glitch, she set the thermostat back to room temperature only to realise that despite her making the changes, the temperature kept going up.
Soon after, a voice started talking to her and her husband, Lamont, from the Nest camera. It then played vulgar music, the report said. She unplugged it and faced it towards the ceiling.
“It’s supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn’t feel safe,” Samantha Westmoreland told the news channel.
“I felt so violated at that point,” she added.
Samantha and Lamont had installed a Nest camera, doorbell, and a thermostat in their home last year. They never faced a problem until a voice started talking to them from their Nest camera.
Soon after, the couple changed the password of the three devices, however, the problems persisted. Eventually, they contacted their internet service provider and got their Ids changed. The couple believes that someone hacked into their Wi-Fi network and their Nest camera.
Responding to the incident, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the Nest device was not breached. “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,” the spokesperson told the news channel.
This however is not an isolated incident wherein smart home devices have been hacked to gain control of a person’s home. Back in January, a hacker broke into the Nest security system of a family in Illilonis and spoke to their baby before abusing the couple.