It’s been discovered that smart cameras produced by Chinese firm Xiaomi and connected to Google have been showing users images from inside stranger’s homes.
Upon loading their Xiaomi smart cameras into Google Home Hub, people were able to see still images of other homes. These images included children playing and people sleeping, including a baby asleep in a crib.
The incident took place on Wednesday 1st January; the images appeared to have been taken the same day. Google has stated that the problem only affects smart cameras made by Xiaomi, and has responded immediately.
According to The Independent:
The Chinese firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment but a Google spokesperson told The Independent: “We’re aware of the issue and are in contact with Xiaomi to work on a fix. In the meantime, we’re disabling Xiaomi integrations on our devices.”
This is an extremely worrying breach of privacy, and demonstrates that people should take care when installing cameras and other recording devices in their homes. The report from The Independent goes on to note that:
This is not the first time Google-linked smart cameras have experienced issues with either security bugs or hacking.
In February last year, the technology giant urged owners of Nest cameras to reset their passwords due to fears that some devices had been taken over by hackers.
One incident involved a family in Illinois, who said cyber criminals took control of their internet-connected camera to shout racial abuse through the device’s speaker at a couple and their baby.
A separate incident involved a family in California receiving an emergency broadcast alert, which falsely claimed that North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles were headed to the United States.
On that occasion, Google stated that the breach occurred because of “customers using passwords that had been compromised by hacks on other websites”. Nonetheless, it demonstrates that these devices need stringent security measures.
Making sure that you have the best available cybersecurity is crucial when dealing with smart cameras and other recording devices – especially when it comes to protecting the privacy of your own home.
If you’re concerned about the measures in place at your organisation, Activa Consulting are the data management experts who can help to improve your procedures and data protection programme. Contact us today to find out how!