With the spread of smart home surveillance cameras, more people than ever are taking steps to protect their homes and families. But the same technology used to keep an eye out for potential dangers can also be used to spy on their owners if not properly secured. Last week, Google admitted that a bug had allowed used Nest cameras to be susceptible to spying. The error allowed those who bought a used camera to be spied on by their previous owner even if the device had been wiped. The problem was quickly addressed, but how long it had been going on and how many devices were breached is unknown.
Google’s Nest surveillance cameras are some of the most popular on the market, and the recent report is an important reminder that users need to secure their devices. The product’s entire purpose is to provide a sense of security for users, but countless incidents have proven that hackers can access the devices when proper precautions aren’t taken.
3 ways to secure your Nest Cam
Updating hardware privacy settings can feel overwhelming, but there are three simple steps that can vastly improve the Nest Cam’s security and give you some peace-of-mind in the process.
1) Create a strong, unique password
One of the easiest ways a hacker can compromise a Nest Cam is simply by learning your password and logging in. Since many people use the same password on multiple sites, a data breach targeting one account can potentially compromise them all. In one incident last January, a hacker was reportedly able to obtain the passwords for more than 4,000 Nest accounts by simply testing login credentials found elsewhere.
Since it can be difficult to remember so many passwords, using a password manager can help. To strengthen the password to your Nest account just follow these steps:
After logging into your Nest app, tap Settings. Next, select Account and then Manage account. Under that menu, choose the Account Security option and then select Account password. After proving your current password, enter in a new password that isn’t used anywhere else. Remember, you can use a password manager to instantly generate and store a strong and random password. All that’s left to do now is to press Save changes.
2) Enable two-factor authentication
Using a strong and unique password on your Nest account is essential to keeping unauthorized people from accessing your camera. But what if that password were to become compromised? That’s where two-factor authentication comes in. Two-factor authentication, often referred to as 2FA, requires users to not only provide a password but to prove using other methods that they are the owners of an account. To enable 2FA, complete the following steps:
While logged in to your nest account, tap the Settings option. Next, choose Manage account and then Account security. Select 2-step verification, and then toggle the switch to On. Enter your current password, provide your phone number and Nest will text you a unique verification code to enter. That’s it! Now, even if a hacker obtains your password, they will be unable to access your account without a unique code.
3) Perform a factory reset
One important step often forgotten is the factory reset. If you plan on selling your Nest camera or plan on buying a used one, it’s important to ensure that no unauthorized person can access its live feeds. A factory reset will keep your camera’s feed accessible only to you. Although there are several different ways to do this, the most common method can be completed by following these quick steps below:
When inside your Nest account, first select the camera you’d like to reset. Next, click Settings and scroll down and click on the Remove camera option. After confirming, you should receive a confirmation email from Nest letting you know that the camera has been removed and that the camera is no longer linked to your account.
All of the steps above will keep Nest Cam users’ even more protected.