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Hackers took over a couple’s Nest devices, raised the temperature to 90°, and blasted vulgar music

September 26th, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Nest Thermostat

In something of a bizarre story that speaks to the risks that can accompany having everyday household objects connected to the internet, hackers recently broke into the smart home system of a Milwaukee couple whereupon they proceeded to have a little bit of fun at the couple’s expense.

In a story that first appeared on Fox6Now, we specifically learn that the hackers raised the temperature on the couple’s Nest thermostat all the way up to 90 degrees. The couple — Lamont and Samantha Westmorland — immediately noticed something was awry when they came back to a sweltering house.

And from there, things only proceeded to get worse.

“The thermostat continued to go up,” the report reads,” and a voice began speaking from a camera in the kitchen — and then playing vulgar music.”

“My heart was racing,” Samantha Westmoreland said of the incident. “I felt so violated at that point.”

Ultimately, the couple changed their Wi-Fi password and were able to restore order to their house.

While the Westmorelands seemed to point the blame at their Nest products, Google provided a statement claiming that the attack was the result of a compromised password obtained via a separate breach.

Google’s statement reads:

Nest was not breached. These reports are based on customers using compromised passwords (exposed through breaches on other websites). In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk.

Nest users have the option to migrate to a Google Account, giving them access to additional tools and automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup. Millions of users have signed up for two-factor verification.

The larger story here is how the ever-increasing number of internet-connected devices in our homes — while convenient — can also provide hackers with newfound avenues to wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims. Indeed, this is hardly the first instance we’ve seen of hackers targeting Nest devices. Earlier this year, a Chicago man was horrified to find that a hacker who had gained access to a number of his connected devices was uttering swear words via a device in the bedroom of his 7-month old son.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.




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