A hacked Nest security camera had a California family scared into believing nuclear war had broken out between the United States and North Korea for about five minutes on Sunday.
Laura Lyons says she was at her home in Orinda, California, located about 17 miles northeast of San Francisco when the security device began sending out an emergency alert. The Nest security camera located in her living room playing a detailed warning that North Korea had launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles that were heading for Los Angeles, Chicago, and Ohio.
"It warned that the United States had retaliated against Pyongyang and that people in the affected areas had three hours to evacuate," Lyons told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. "It sounded completely legit, and it was loud and got our attention right off the bat. … It was five minutes of sheer terror and another 30 minutes trying to figure out what was going on."
The warning claimed to be from Civil Defense and said that President Donald Trump had been taken to a secure facility. As the message began repeating, Lyons said her mind began racing on what she needed to do next.
Lyons said she switched the television from the NFC Championship football game to CNN and other news stations to try and find out any information about the pending attack. It was only after Lyons called Nest that the family learned that they had been the likely victim of a hacker who had managed to access their data thanks to a "third-party data breach."
As it turns out, there had been a number of similar incidents over the last few months. A Nest supervisor told the family that the hacker had gained access to their camera and its speakers. Lyons says the company has a responsibility to let customers know if their data has been compromised.
She shared her experience on a local family Facebook group with other Nest users chiming in with their own bizarre experiences.
"My son heard it and crawled under our living room rug," Lyons wrote describing Sunday’s incident. "I am so sad and ANGRY, but also insanely grateful that it was a hoax!!"
Lyons says she has disabled the microphone and speaker capabilities on the cameras, changed the passwords and has begun using 2-factor authentication.
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