Smart home security cameras are meant to give you the ability to keep an eye on your home even when you aren’t there. When someone else gets access to your camera, though, you can suddenly feel much less safe. That was the experience Phoenix resident Andy Gregg had earlier this year, according to the Arizona Republic.
According to Gregg’s account, he heard an unfamiliar voice inside his house late one night while he was in the backyard. Worried that someone had broken into his home, Gregg entered and was surprised to discover that the voice was coming from his Nest IQ Cam security camera that was sitting in the front window of his home. The person on the other end informed Gregg that he was a hacker associated with the group Anonymous.
The hacker told Gregg that he was contacting him to inform him some of his private information had been compromised. The hacker told Gregg that he couldn’t see any of the video being captured by the camera and couldn’t see his exact location, but warned him that type of information would be easy for a more malicious actor to find if they wanted to. To prove his point, the hacker read off several passwords that Gregg used for a variety of websites.
Once the hacker informed Gregg of the issues, he apologized for startling and left him alone. Gregg decided to unplug the camera completely and changed his compromised passwords to prevent a malicious hacker from gaining access to his accounts. “You basically feel very vulnerable,” Gregg told the Arizona Republic. “It feels like you’ve been robbed essentially and somebody’s in your house. They know when you’re there. They know when you’re leaving.”
In a statement to the Arizona Republic, Nest parent company Google said that it is aware that passwords exposed in other breaches may be used to access its cameras. The company noted the cameras can’t be controlled wirelessly without a username and password created by the device owner. Nest devices do not come with default logins that can easily be manipulated to hijack the cameras.