In this golden age of technology, millions of families nationwide have transitioned their homes into ‘smart homes’ with help from products produced by the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon. While products such as the Ring Doorbell, or Google Nest can make lives easier, owners need not forget that they must always protect their private information. Just ask the Westmoreland’s from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Fox News reported that an incident took place earlier this month where the Westmoreland’s Google Smart Home system was breached. A hacker got into their system and started talking to the family via the camera in the kitchen, then started playing loud and vulgar music from the video system in the living room and cranked the heat up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit through the digital thermostat. Basically, he took over their entire digital house.
Samantha Westmoreland said about the incident, “My heart was racing. I felt so violated at that point. It gives me the chills just talking about it.” The solution required that their entire network ID had to be changed through their internet service provider, all their passwords had to change and they had to install two-factor authentication to ensure this never happens again. This is a scary, precautionary tale. The lesson is that the internet connected things in your home are the most vulnerable to attack. As these items spread, the need for more cyber security measures increases.