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Terrified family convinced U.S. under attack after Nest cam hack

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Is your security cam safe?

Imagine hanging out at home with your family, like most any other day. Then, you hear a terrifying message blasting from the living room.

You run into the room to find out what’s going on and hear what appears to be a warning from the Emergency Alert System. It says North Korea has launched intercontinental ballistic missiles at the city you live in plus a couple more and the U.S. has already responded by launching missiles back at them.

The alert says you have less than 3 hours before impact. What do you do?

This nightmare scenario actually happened to a family living in California recently. Laura Lyons told “The Mercury News” the details about that horrifying day.

When it happened, Lyons and her husband thought the warning was coming from their TV. But it wasn’t. Instead, the alert was booming out of their Nest security camera.

The good news is the nuclear attack was a hoax. The bad news is someone hacked into their Nest cam and scared the bejeebers out of them by playing the fake alert.

(Image source: Nest.com)

Originally, Lyons thought that Nest’s system had been hacked, allowing the false alarm to play through their security cam. That wasn’t actually the case.

Nest’s system wasn’t hacked. It turns out that the password the family was using for their Nest cam was also being used for different accounts online. One of those accounts suffered a data breach and exposed the password.

The “hacker” was able to use the exposed password to log into Lyons’ security cam through the Nest app. We’re all at risk to this type of attack. That’s why it’s crucial to use unique passwords for every single online account that you have.

Also, don’t use weak passwords that are easy for hackers to crack. Here are new ways to come up with a secure password.

Unfortunately, strong passwords aren’t enough protection these days. Now, whenever possible you have to use two-factor authentication.

Use 2FA whenever possible

If any of your accounts offer two-factor authentication (2FA), or 2-step verification, your best bet is always to enable the feature. This is an extra level of security that could keep others from accessing your account, even if they have your credentials.

Once enabled, you would still enter your username and password but the system would still require another piece of information. For example, a code sent to your phone, or from an authenticator app during a login attempt.

Even if you use 2FA, don’t think of this as an extra step that has to be performed every time you access a particular account. After you prove your identity, you’ll often be given the option to mark the device you’re using as safe, so you won’t need to verify again.

Good news, Nest does offer 2FA. If you have an existing account in the Nest app, and you’ve been signing in with just a password, you can add 2FA for stronger security.

Here are the steps to add 2FA for Nest cams:

  • Make sure all the phones and tablets used to access your account have the latest version of the Nest app.
  • On the Nest app home screen, tap Settings.
  • Select Account, then Manage account.
  • Tap Account security.
  • Select 2-step verification. Then tap the switch to toggle 2-step verification On.
  • Follow the prompts to enter your password, phone number, and unique verification code sent to your phone.

It’s that simple and could save your Nest cam from being hacked. We highly recommend using 2FA when possible.

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