A couple from San Francisco, California, told local media to have experienced a moment of "pure terror" a few days ago, when his connected security camera broadcast a message warning him of an imminent nuclear attack.
Shouting realistically, the message sent by the connected home automation system on the top of their TV would have warned Californians against three North Korean intercontinental missiles directed at Los Angeles, Chicago and Ohio. According to them, they had three hours to evacuate.
It took a couple of good minutes for the couple to understand that hackers were able to hack the password from his Nest Account – the brand of the device – and take control of the camera's speaker. Horrified, the couple initially thought that the sound was escaping from his television, which broadcast yet a football match.
Personal data theft on third party sites
This panic eventually turned into anger when the couple learned that other similar incidents have occurred, but that Nest has not informed its customers.
A spokesman for Google – the company's owner – said Nest "has not been hacked." He added that, although incidents have been reported in recent months, they were due to the theft of users' passwords on third-party websites.
Nest constantly polls the huge amounts of personal data stolen and published on the Internet, looking for email addresses or passwords used by its customers. If there is a problem, it warns them to change their password but, given the amount of stolen data in circulation, the process can take a long time.