A couple in Houston thought they were taking measures to keep their family safe when they installed Wi-Fi-enabled Nest baby monitors in their home to watch over their 4-month-old son. But when an unrecognizable voice came through the system’s speakers on Monday, they quickly took action to disconnect the system and the wireless network it was connected to.
According to a report from NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston, Ellen and Nathan Rigney were awoken by a beeping sound coming from the monitor and thought that it was an alarm notifying them of the presence of CO2. Suddenly, however, they heard “sexual expletives” that sounded like they were coming from their son Topper’s room.
“Immediate reaction was that there’s somebody in here, somebody’s in my son’s room! How did they get in there?!” Ellen told the station.
But things escalated when Nathan turned their bedroom light on and their own Nest camera suddenly turned on, followed by a man’s voice ordering the parents to turn their light back off.
“Then [he] said, ‘I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room,'” Ellen continued.
Nathan immediately ran up the stairs to Topper’s room, to find that the baby was alone and safe. Ellen came to the conclusion that the system must have been hacked, and told Nathan to shut the Wi-Fi down immediately.
Ellen posted about the traumatic experience on her Facebook page to spread awareness to other parents about the dangers of using a wireless network for monitoring their child. As for receiving help from Nest, she told KPRC that the company was “no help at all.”
A Nest spokesperson sent the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
Nest has reset all the accounts where customers reused passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites and published publicly. Even though Nest was not breached, these customers were vulnerable because their credentials were freely available on the Internet. Each customer has received instructions on how to establish new credentials. For added password security, we’re preventing customers from using passwords which appear on known compromised lists. As before, we encourage all customers to use two-factor verification for added account security, even if your password is compromised.
Hopefully these measures make parents feel more safe, as Ellen calls the experience “unnerving and unsettling.”
“Something that is supposed to make you feel better and instead it makes you feel the opposite,” she explained to KPRC, “it makes you feel invaded and uncomfortable.”
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