September 24, 2014

Share Everywhere

Hackers Target Nest Thermostats

Last month, we told you about the vulnerabilities of some types of baby monitors. Earlier this month, we warned you about the risks associated with wearable fitness trackers. Now, we bring you another risk associated with wireless devices in the home: the Nest thermostat security.

As you know, Nest is more than just a thermostat. It knows when you’re home, your address, and your WiFi network name and password, among other things. Even more than that, it is capable of wirelessly communicating with other devices, allowing it to share all of that information at just the press of a button. This is part of what makes Nest so great. These features allow you to control the temperature of your house and cut your energy use, even if you’re hundreds of miles away from home.

The good news is, it is virtually impossible for hackers to tap into a Nest device wirelessly. Criminals need physical access to the device to install malware, so when purchased directly from an authorized retailer, they are probably safe.

Danger arises when people purchase a Nest elsewhere, such as a third-party seller on eBay or Amazon. In this situation, it is incredibly easy for criminals to install the aforementioned malware, which will track and share the homeowner’s personal information after installation.

Additionally, people should work with reputable resources for the installation and maintenance of these types of devices. Remember, if a repair person comes to fix your Nest, this may put you and your family at risk.

As Nest is owned by Google, there’s no doubt that the company has a team of coders working to improve the safety measures of the product. In the meantime, however, it’s imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Because as we’ve shared before, wireless devices are great for making your home more efficient, for keeping an eye on things while you’re away, and for helping you stay on top of your fitness routine. There’s no reason for you to sacrifice any of these conveniences.

So, what can you do? Be cautious about where you purchase your Nest – or other home wireless device – from. Fully vet the person who comes to install or fix the thermostat. And always keep in mind some of the other tips we’ve provided when it comes to the safety of your home.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Global Panorama.

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