A Houston, Texas couple purchased a wireless camera system from the brand Nest to keep an eye on their infant son. The baby monitor uses Wi-Fi and HD video to send a live stream recording to the owner’s cell phone. The couple placed one monitor in their baby’s room and one next to their bedside. Although they purchased the device for safety purposes, they are now complaining that the product was taken over by hackers, according to NBC.
Elaine Rigney and her husband made sure both cameras were functioning properly prior to falling asleep on Sunday. They were startled awake in the middle of the night by strange sounds coming out of the monitor. Although Elaine thought it was a carbon monoxide notification at first, she became panicked when she heard voices and expletives come through the monitor. When she and her husband leaped out of bed to turn the bedroom light on, a voice began speaking to them from the camera next to their bed. A strange man’s voice commanded them to turn their bedroom light back off.
“Then he said ‘I’m going to kidnap your baby. I’m in your baby’s room,'” Rigney said.
They raced to their infant’s room only to find him sleeping soundly and his room how they left it. Rigney recalled telling her husband that the person who spoke was “not in here” and that “somebody’s hacking this.” Realizing that a hacker was using their Wi-Fi to take over the camera, they immediately switched off their internet and notified the police, who confirmed their suspicions. While the couple did complain about the incident to Nest, they say the company offered little help and did not apologize for the security breach.
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The Rigneys threw out the hijacked cameras and will use devices that do not rely on a Wi-Fi connection to monitor their son moving forward. They are shaken by the incident and angry that such a pricey product did not come with better security.
“It’s unnerving and unsettling,” Rigney said.
“You have something that’s supposed to make you feel better, and instead it makes you feel the opposite.”
NBC News reached out to Nest for a statement regarding the hacking scheme, and the company blames the issue on weak passwords. They said they have “seen instances where Nest customers have reused passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites and made public.” Nevertheless, they claim they have nothing to do with the issue.
“None of these breaches involved Nest,” the company said.