smart home hack security awareness training cybersecurity phish test scam alert cybernews iot

Smart Home Hack Attack

Smart homes can be hijacked by hackers! As technology improves, basic security procedures should be carried out unless you want to have hackers control your thermostat or talk to you from cameras.

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee couple said their smart home was hacked. Their camera began talking to them, and their thermostat reached upwards of 90 degrees, as reported by FOX6 Now.

The Westmoreland family installed a Nest camera, doorbell, and thermostat in their home in 2018. They had no problems until they heard a voice talking through a camera in their kitchen.

“It’s supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn’t feel safe,” said Samantha Westmoreland.

Their place of comfort turned creepy Tuesday, Sept. 17.

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

Westmoreland returned from work to a blazing hot home. The thermostat had been turned all the way up to 90 degrees. She thought it was a glitch — and set it back to room temperature. She did not realize that was only the beginning of a roller coaster 24 hours.

smart home hack security awareness training cybersecurity phish test scam alert cybernews iot

“It gives me the chills just talking about it,” Westmoreland said.

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

smart home hack security awareness training cybersecurity phish test scam alert cybernews iot

“So I unplugged it and turned it facing the ceiling,” Westmoreland said.

Westmoreland and her husband changed their passwords, but the problems persisted. Eventually, they contacted their internet carrier and changed their network ID. They believe someone hacked into their Wi-Fi and then, their Nest.

“If someone hacks into your Wi-Fi, they shouldn’t be able to have access to those Nest devices without some sort of wall they have to get over,” said Lamont Westmoreland.

The Westmorelands said they’re upset their $700 system was a gateway into their home.

“Maybe there are some steps we should take,” said Lamont Westmorland. “I think Nest should be tightening security.”

smart home hack security awareness training cybersecurity phish test scam alert cybernews iot

They wanted to share their story to make others aware that hackers are outsmarting the smart home.

“People need to be educated and know that this is real, and this is happening, and it is super scary, and you don’t realize it until it’s actually happening to you,” Samantha Westmoreland said.

FOX6 Now received a statement on this story (attributed to a Google spokesperson). It reads as follows:

“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.”

Sears, Ashley. (2019, September 2019). ‘Felt so violated:’ Milwaukee couple warns hackers are outsmarting smart homes. FOX6 Now.

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