NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Home security systems are supposed to make people feel safe, but when hackers took control of one family’s system, they felt anything but.
The feature makes you take an extra step, such as enter a code, to prove it’s really you after giving your username and password.
It’s something Laura Lyons did not have turned on until this happened.
“If we had any inkling that a data breach had occurred when we heard it coming out of that camera we would have instantly been suspect as opposed to several minutes of, quite frankly, sheer terror,” she said.
Those several minutes of terror for Lyons began when the speaker on her Nest security camera began blasting an emergency alert through her family’s California home.
She says what followed was a voice warning them that three missiles from North Korea were headed to the U.S. and to take shelter. The hoax sent Lyons, her husband, and their 8-year-old son into a panic.
“We called Nest,” she said. “They admitted they had received multiple reports of Nest cameras being hacked in the last week.”
In a statement to CBS This Morning, Google, which owns nest, says “Nest was not breached.” Instead, the company says customers, like Lyons, had been “using compromised passwords… exposed through breaches on other websites.”
Last week, a website that tracks compromised online logins claims it uncovered over 790 million unique e-mail addresses and passwords, all compiled from more than 2,000 alleged databases.
Google says it recently reset all Nest accounts “where customers reused passwords that were previously exposed” and “is actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords.”
“You don’t want to say anything is a 100 percent secure all the time,” said Wired news editor Brian Barrett.
Barrett says while tech companies stress greater security and convenience, users shouldn’t lose sight of taking precautions of their own.
“Incidents like this remind people that they need to give their devices a second thought and strong look if they really need them, why they need them, and if they are going to get them how are they going to make sure they will stay protected,” he said.
In addition to not reusing passwords and enabling two-factor authentication, Barrett also recommends a password manager.
Lyons says since the incident involving her family’s nest security camera,
Her husband changed their passwords, turned on two-factor authentication, and turned off the device’s microphone and speaker.