Google says that it's investigating an issue where the previous owner of a used Nest Cam can spy on new users
Business Insider / Jillian D'Onfro
- Some users who have sold their Nest Cam Indoor devices are still able to access images from those devices, even after a factory reset has occurred, according to a Wirecutter report on Wednesday.
- The report said Nest Cam Indoor devices that have been paired with Wink - an app that allows users to control their smart home devices - are vulnerable to the newly discovered privacy issue.
- A Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Wednesday that it was "recently made aware" of the issue and "actively investigating it and working on a fix."
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A new report may have you thinking twice, if you were planning on buying a used Nest Cam.
According to a Wirecutter report on Wednesday, some users who have sold their Nest Cam Indoor devices are still able to access images from those devices, even after a factory reset had occurred. That means those who sold their Nest Cams can tap into the security feeds of the new owners.
The report said only Nest Cam Indoor devices that have been paired with a Wink hub - a hardware product that allows users to connect and sync an array of smart home devices - are vulnerable to the newly discovered privacy issue. Previous owners are reportedly able to view the images via their Wink app.
A Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Wednesday: "We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras that are connected to a third party partner via Works With Nest. We're actively investigating it and working on a fix."
The spokesperson did not say when the fix was expected or how many users had been impacted.
According to Wirecutter - which replicated the scenario itself after hearing murmurs of the bug on a Wink Facebook Group - the content accessible by previous device owners are "still images snapped every several seconds" rather than the typical video stream captured by the security cams. Even so, being able to view images from the new device owners is a concerning privacy breach.
For Nest, the security blunder reported on Wednesday harkens back to February, when it was discovered that a microphone had been embedded in its Nest Secure alarm system without giving notice to its users. At the time, the company said the microphone was "never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs."
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