A Fort Worth couple was lying in bed last month when they heard something chilling — the voice of a man in their living room asking their Alexa device to play a Justin Bieber song.
“We thought someone was in our home,” Audrey Coleman said.
Her husband, Hunter, ran out of the room and found that no one was inside. Instead, he discovered that someone was speaking to them and watching them through their Nest security camera that faces their front door.
Coleman said the camera is in their kitchen and faces their front door. It begins to film when it senses a motion or a person entering their home. If someone were to break in, they could access the microphone to yell at the intruder.
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“So someone somehow hacked into the account and was able to get into the system, turn the camera on and then start using the microphone to talk through the camera,” Audrey Coleman told the Star-Telegram.
Nest told the couple that the hacker guessed their password, but they found that unlikely.
When Hunter Coleman discovered the breach, he moved to unplug the device and the man’s voice began yelling profanities and racist threats at him, Audrey Coleman wrote on a public Facebook post.
“As scary as it was, I am more appalled by the events that occurred as Hunter called Nest to see about finding out who hacked the camera and to resolve the issue,” she wrote. “Nest is HIGHLY aware of this problem and they frequently receive calls about this. They are aware that there is a way to figure out your password and hack into your camera, and they have not notified their customers or helped them to take proper action. Seriously? We then had to do our own research on how to resolve the issue because they offered no help.”
So the Coleman’s are now warning other Nest users: If you have one of those cameras, set up a two-factor authentication and change the password immediately.
“Secondly, if you do get hacked, make sure to check that the hacker hasn’t added themself to the Home Share where they would be able to get in without knowing your password,” Audrey Coleman wrote.
The Coleman’s aren’t the only Nest users who reported being hacked in January.
In Illinois, a couple told CBS Chicago that a hacker watched their baby. Arjun Sud told the station that a man with a deep voice was heard talking to his 7-month-old son.
The Nest hacker was using obscenities, including the N-word, the station reported. Sud said the man could see him and continued to taunt him. Nest told him that they didn’t know how long someone had been watching his family.
Nest released the following statement: “Nest was not breached. These recent 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. We take security in the home extremely seriously, and we’re actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords, allow customers to monitor access to their accounts and track external entities that abuse credentials.”
In California, a family said their Nest security camera was hacked and began blasting an emergency alert through their home. According to CBS News, a voice said that three missiles from North Korea were heading to the U.S.
Laura Lyons told CBS the same story Coleman and Sud did — Nest told her they had received multiple reports.