ORINDA (KPIX 5) — An East Bay family is issuing a warning to other Nest camera owners after someone hacked into their surveillance system in what they describe as sheer moments of terror.
“Tremendous amount of anxiety and more importantly our poor 8-year-old, you know, scared to death,” Orinda resident Laura Lyons said in an interview with the East Bay Times.
Lyons told the newspaper she believed her and her family had only minutes to escape after a warning rang throughout her home that the United States was under attack.
“It came on like the emergency sounds of an amber alert,” she said. “Then a man’s voice announced that North Korea had launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles toward the United States.”
She said the man then said the United States had launched a counter attack, and that missiles from North Korea were headed to Los Angeles, Chicago and Ohio.
“I was like, ‘All right, we need to get in the car. We need to grab the dog. Which direction do we drive?'” said Lyons.
But then Lyons said she walked into her living room and saw that the alert was not coming from her TV. She said that’s when she realized the warning was actually coming from her Nest camera.
After calls to 911 and to Nest, she learned the warning wasn’t real and someone had hacked into her Nest Camera.
“They admitted that they had received multiple reports of Nest cameras being hacked in the last week,” Lyons told the East Bay Times.
A spokesperson from Google, which owns Nest, told KPIX 5 hackers didn’’ breach Nest and that someone had instead somehow obtained Laura’s password and hacked into her account.
Other Nest owners have reported similar incidents.
In a statement, Google said, in part: “We’re actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords.”
The Google spokesperson added that in nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminated the risk of being hacked.
Former FBI agent and KPIX5 security analyst Jeff Harp said he’s surprised he hasn’t seen this happen more often.
“Like everybody else, I’m sure thought about their own security system. Everything that’s connected to the internet creates a pathway for someone to get in,” Harp said. “You can be a little smarter about making sure you’ve updated your firmware and that you do have complex passwords. There’s only so much you can do.”
The East Bay Times reported that Lyons is grateful the warning was a hoax, but that her panic has now turned into anger.
“I want Nest and other corporations that get involved in these data hacks to fess up to their customers and avoid situations like this,” Lyons said.