Hackers Use Nest Cam to Fool Family About Bogus Ballistic Missile Attack

A San Francisco Bay Area family panicked when they heard a fake incoming North Korea ICBM missile warning over their Nest system.

Laura Lyons describes the terror her and her family went through when they heard the false alert over their Nest cam.

ORINDA, Calif. — A San Francisco Bay Area family got the fright of their lives Sunday when the apocalyptic warning came blasting over their Nest security camera: voices gave a detailed description of three North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles headed to Los Angeles, Chicago and Ohio.

“It warned that the United States had retaliated against Pyongyang and that people in the affected areas had three hours to evacuate,” Laura Lyons explained to The Mercury News. “It sounded completely legit, and it was loud and got our attention right off the bat. … It was five minutes of sheer terror and another 30 minutes trying to figure out what was going on.”

Confusion abounded for Lyons and her husband because the television continued to broadcast the NFC Championship football game, uninterrupted. Meanwhile their 8-year-old son crawled underneath a rug as his parents stood stunned in their living room.

Chock it all up to another hoax by way of a hijacked smart security device.

Following phone calls to 911 and to Nest, Lyons and her husband learned they had likely been hacked, The Mercury News reported. Lyons told the newspaper that a Nest supervisor told them they had likely become the victims of a “third party hack” that had infiltrated their Nest security camera and speakers.

In a comment to the newspaper a Google spokesperson — the search engine owns Nest — said the camera was not breached in this incident.

“These recent reports are based on customers using compromised passwords (exposed through breaches on other websites). In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of the security risk,” the company stated. “We take security in the home extremely seriously, and we’re actively introducing features that will reject comprised passwords, allow customers to monitor access to their accounts and track external entities that abuse credentials.”

Hear Lyons’ firsthand account of the incident in the video above.

Similarly scary hacks of Nest security systems have happened in the past. A Houston couple dealt with a stressful December night when someone reportedly hacked into their Nest Wifi camera network and threaten to kidnap their 4-month-old son.

Nathan and Ellen Rigney were asleep when their monitor began beeping next to their bed. However, the couple then heard sexual expletives being said in their 4-month-old son’s room, KPRC reported.

The couple jumped out of bed and turned their light on, only to have their Nest camera turn on. A man’s voice ordered the Rigney’s to turn the light in their room off, according to the station.

“Then [he] said, ‘I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room,’” Ellen Rigney told KPRC. Nathan Rigney ran to their son’s room and found him safe. Ellen Rigney said she later remembered a story about WiFi camera hacking.

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