In recent weeks, there's been a number of fairly alarming reports coming from Nest users about cameras being taken over by "hackers" who use their access to broadcast potentially terrifying messages (or even asking Alexa speakers to play Justin Bieber). The more tech-savvy among us may recognize that this isn't a security failure on Nest's part, but rather tricksters finding that they're able to log in to strangers' Nest accounts with usernames and passwords that have been gathered and distributed around the internet. It turns out these stories have gained enough traction for Nest to address the issue: Nest VP Rishi Chandra sent an email to users today to reiterate that the company's devices have not been hacked and that there are some simple tips they can take to increase security. Foremost among those is turning on two-step verification and, of course, using a strong and unique password for your Nest account. Chandra also clearly walks users through how their cameras could be compromised without it being Nest's fault: His message also suggests setting up family accounts, rather than sharing an email and password with multiple members of the family who might need access to Nest.
Dozens of Nest camera owners this week heard a disembodied voice insist that they subscribe to PewDiePie's YouTube channel. On Sunday, a voice emanating from a Nest security camera told a family of three that North Korean missiles were en route to Ohio, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In December, a couple was startled out of bed when they heard sexual expletives coming from their baby's room over a monitor. Then they heard a hacker's voice on their Nest cameras saying, "I'm going to kidnap your baby, I'm in your baby's room." For years, Internet of Things security woes have been epitomized by hackers accessing live feeds from video baby monitors.
A hacker put millions of Twitter credentials up for sale on Wednesday. By one reckoning, 32 million accounts are compromised. Another puts the figure at 71 million. At this point, it's a good idea to enable two-factor authentication on Twitter, and if you're using the same password somewhere else, change it just to be safe. There's some confusion about how the data leaked, and the extent to which it's a concern.
Nest Cam security cameras and the Nest Hello video doorbell can increase home security, but it's important to know if your house has enough Wi-Fi bandwidth to support them. For one Northern California family it was a terrifying experience: an emergency warning that came through a Nest surveillance camera of three intercontinental ballistic missiles, apparently from North Korea, headed straight to Los Angeles, Chicago and Ohio. Laura Lyons told the East Bay Times that the warning, "sounded completely legit, and it was loud and got our attention right off the bat.…It was five minutes of sheer terror and another 30 minutes trying to figure out what was going on." The warning proved to be a hoax, and according to Nest's parent Google, it wasn't a hack at all but rather the result of a compromised password. "Nest was not breached," Google said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.