Google has fixed an alarming bug in the Nest Cam Indoor security system that allowed previous owners to still access images from the device, despite performing a factory reset.
The discovery, which was first reported by Wirecutter, was made by a member of the Facebook Wink Users Group. Wink is a platform of of both hardware and software that connects with and controls smart home devices.
The member revealed that he was still able to access images from his old Nest camera, which was already with its new owner. As its original owner, he connected the camera to his Wink smart home hub, and for some reason, the device maintained the connection even after a factory reset.
The bug raised an uproar of security concerns, as nobody would want strangers watching them, their families and their homes through the second-hand Nest camera that they purchased. Fortunately, Google was quick in responding to the issue and resolving it.
“We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras connected to third-party partner services via Works with Nest,” a Google representative told Wirecutter, adding that the issue has been fixed and that Nest camera owners will not need to do anything to eliminate the bug. Wirecutter tried testing again with a Nest Indoor Cam and the Wink Hub, and confirmed that the problem has been solved.
The issue was a major breach of privacy, which Google said was the reason for its decision to discontinue the Works with Nest program. By stopping the program, Google wanted to limit the access of third-party devices to the data that was captured by Nest products. The extent of the data sharing under the program was in full display in this case.
The privacy problem follows the issue with the Nest Secure home security system. Its Nest Guard was released with a built-in, hidden microphone, and only Google knew about it as the component was not disclosed in any product documentation or packaging.
Google has fixed the Nest Cam Indoor bug, but Wirecutter still advises customers to be very cautious when purchasing or selling smart home items, especially those that are involved in privacy and security such as cameras, devices, with microphones, and locks.
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