If you get a smart camera to watch over your loved ones, please just be aware that they’re likely insanely easy to hack.
One parent found this out the hard way after a voice booming from their Google Nest yelled at a nanny that they were “coming for the baby if you don’t answer me, bitch!” In a piece for the East Bay Times, Jack Newcombe writes about the terrifying discovery that someone had hacked into the kitchen camera, which is unfortunately common.
Earlier this year, a couple heard a man yelling curse words at them through the Nest cameras installed in their home. “And then they messed with our thermostat?” one of them told CBS News. “Who does that?” A hacker similarly fucked with the thermostat and began talking through the cameras of a Milkwaukee couple in September as well as playing “vulgar music,” they told Fox6 at the time.
How does this happen? Newcombe explains:
Essentially, an email and a password are compromised somewhere across the internet. They join millions of other email addresses and passwords, which are then cross-referenced with other websites, including Nest. When a match is found, any novice can jump on and terrorize with little to no technical background.
What is worse is that anyone could have been watching us at any time for as long as we have had the cameras up. This person just happened to use the microphone. Countless voyeurs could have been silently watching (or worse) for months.
In a Chicago Tribune article on hackings of smart cameras, a Google spokesperson told the publication that “the company automatically rolls out updates to its software and stays on top of security and safety measures” in response to the hackings. But if you’re going to buy a smart camera, for the love of god set a strong password, or you risk giving your child nightmares for eternity.