We often talk about security issues and hacks on the blog, but most of the time the articles concern exploits that got fixed or studies that suggest threats. That’s why for a lot of people these issues might seem to be outlandish – something that could never happen to oneself.
This is probably what a family in California thought, too – until their nest cam suddenly started to terrorize them.
Nuclear bombs are on their way to the US
According to a Mercury News report it all started on a lazy Sunday afternoon – when they all of a sudden heard an emergency broadcast from the living room. It apparently warned the family against three North Korean intercontinental missiles. Their targets: Los Angeles, Chicago, and Ohio.
“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 family told Mercury News.
Fake news thanks to a third party hack
After spending several minutes in a completely panicked state – their 8-year-old son even crawled under a rug – they started calling 911 and Nest. It took some time, but they finally figured out that there was actually no attack at all, at least not from North Korea. It seemed though like they were targeted by hackers.
If you think that it was Nest that got hacked or that someone brute forced their way into the family’s device, you are sorely mistaken. It was case of plain and simple password reuse: The same password was used for several accounts of which one was apparently breached at one point.
Don’t use the same password for your accounts – ever
The above example is the perfect example as to why you should never ever reuse your password: If you ever did you should change it immediately by following the below security tips:
- Use a unique password for each of your accounts. When a website gets hacked one of the first things bad guys do is checking out if your username/email address/password combination works on other (high-profile) pages.
- Your password should consist of at least twelve characters – the more the better. It should include upper- and lower-cases, numbers, and special characters.
- Try and create passwords that can’t be found in a dictionary. Hackers nowadays have programs that cycle through dictionaries to check if they can access your account.
- Don’t use character strings like 12345, abcde, qweertyui, etc.
- Use passwords that can’t be associated with you: Your dog’s name, birthday dates of family members or yourself or your favorite sport are a not a good idea.
- Change your password regularly – especially when it comes to your email and online banking/online payment accounts.
- Don’t write down your passwords and never ever share them.
If you have trouble coming up with a good, strong, and complex enough password you can always use a good Password Manager to help you out.