Smart home gadgets can get pretty expensive, and some might be tempted to pick up their hardware in used condition to save a bit of dough. Unfortunately for them, Wirecutter recently discovered that used Nest cams could provide the original owner with limited access to the new owner's feed, though the issue has since been fixed by Google.
Even factory resetting a Nest Cam with the instructions provided by Google wasn't enough to prevent the original owner from having access via third-party integrations. In the tests conducted by Wirecutter, if the original owner had linked the Nest Cam to a Wink Hub, that would result in a connection that would persist following the reset and subsequent resale. The new owner could set up their "new" and seemingly unlinked Nest Cam with a separate account, but the original owner was still able to view some content, described as a "stream of still images," via that preexisting connection to Wink.
At the time of the discovery, Wirecutter didn't have a solution to the problem for owners of used Nest hardware, but Google claims the issue has since been fixed in an update which has already rolled out at the time of writing. Wirecutter also confirmed as of today with a repeat of its own tests that the issue has since been resolved.
We reached out to Google independently to confirm, and were provided with the following statement from a Google spokesperson:
We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras connected to third-party partner services via Works with Nest. We've since rolled out a fix for this issue that will update automatically, so if you own a Nest camera, there’s no need to take any action.
Usually, concerns regarding used hardware affect the security of the original owner, and it's interesting to see the tables turned here. Hopefully, Google's failure when it came to the security of Nest Cams linked to Wink Hubs doesn't result in any lasting privacy concerns for folks just hoping to save a few bucks.