Couple says smart home system was hacked: 'It gives me the chills'

A Milwaukee couple was left feeling “violated” after their home camera began talking to them, their thermostat suspiciously topped 90 degrees and vulgar music blasted through their wireless electronics.

The perturbed couple, according to a report from FOX 6, discovered their smart home had been the victim of a virtual intrusion.

"It's supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn't feel safe," Samantha Westmoreland told Fox 6 in an interview this week.

Back in 2018, the family installed Google's Nest camera, doorbell and thermostat, conveniences that served them with no issues up until recently.

Asset image of the Google Nest Learning Thermostat – 3rd Generation. (Google Nest)

The encroachments began on Sept. 17 when Samantha returned from work to a hot home. After she turned down the thermostat, someone started speaking through her security camera followed by vulgar music, according to the report.

“It gives me the chills just talking about it,” Samantha added.

Amid proliferating fears surrounding one's privacy in regards to technology, a Google spokesperson reitered to FOX Business that the Nest in this case was not breached and the reports are based on customers using compromised passwords.

"In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk, " a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Nest users have the option to migrate to a Google Account, giving them access to additional tools and automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup. Millions of users have signed up for two-factor verification."

This comes amid a time when technology companies are pushing the "smart home,” selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences.

A smart home can encompass features as simple as remote-controlled lamps and as sophisticated as thermostats that know when you're home and turn up the heat automatically. But these devices, as depicted in this scenario, might also give companies and hackers a key to your homes.

In order to diminish fears, consumers are told to check what safeguards a device offers before buying. Smart speakers, for instance, typically have a mute button to disable the microphone completely.


Samantha’s husband, according to FOX 6, had changed their passwords but the invasions persisted, prompting the couple to take more extensive measures.

The couple had contacted their internet provider and changed their network ID, the report said, adding that the company believes someone hacked into their Wi-Fi and then, their Nest.

FOX Business' Anick Jesdanun contributed to this report.