PHOENIX, Arizona – When your security camera makes you feel less secure, there might be a problem.
Especially when a voice emanating from the other end claims to be a “white hat hacker” from the “Anonymous Calgary Hivemind.” That’s what Andy Gregg tells the Arizona Republic happened a few weeks ago, when the real estate agent was in his Phoenix backyard and heard a voice speaking to him through the Nest Cam IQ camera inside his home, “in the creepiest way possible,” per Motherboard.
“Who is this?” Gregg asks warily in a video he took. The voice on the other end replies, “You’ve never met me, I’m a security researcher from Canada.” Hence the “white hacker” nickname, which indicates someone who purposely infiltrates a system to warn users about its vulnerabilities, for their sake and others’. “There are so many malicious things somebody could do with this,” the voice continues.
The hacker also recited back to Gregg a password he’d used across multiple sites to highlight that if the password were obtained in a data breach from just one company, it could then be used to “break in” on other sites.
Gregg can be heard expressing his appreciation to the apologetic hacker in the video, noting that it was “a wake-up call, for sure.”
The Republic notes this incident is just the latest involving wireless internet devices like Nest cameras or Amazon’s Alexa, which some experts say have “glaring security vulnerabilities.” Nest, owned by Google parent Alphabet, said in a statement that users of its cameras should set up two-factor authentication as an extra layer of security.
Motherboard agrees, adding to switch up your passwords among sites. Gregg, meanwhile, has since unplugged his camera.
(Security experts worry a Chinese company may be spying on people through its cameras.)