Google Claims It's Fixing Issue That Let Used Nest Cam Sellers Spy on New Owners

By Jennings Brown on at

It’s probably a bad idea to buy used connected devices because it can be difficult to determine who could still be connected to that device.

A Wirecutter report has revealed that people who sold their Nest cameras could access images from the camera taken after a factory reset was done on the device.

Wirecutter found that someone on the Facebook Wink Users Group posted about being able to see the current feed of a Nest camera he had sold. The person had connected the device to his Wink hub of smart-home tech when he owned the device. But even after he did a reset on the device and sold it, the feed was still coming into his account.

The Wirecutter staff tested the issue out. They reported that they used a Nest camera that had been synced to a Wink hub. They removed the Nest camera from a Nest account, which counts as a “factory reset” on that device, according to Nest. After that, they could not see the stream. Then they created a new Nest account through a different mobile device, and were able to watch a new stream through the new account, showing the device had a new connection.

But when they checked the Wink app, which Wirecutter had connected to the device originally, the staff could also see a stream of still images from the camera that should have been disconnected from that Wink hub through the factory reset.

On Wednesday, Google told Business Insider it was investigating the issue.

Now Google claims the matter has been resolved. “We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras connected to third-party partner services via Works with Nest,” a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo. “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.”

Google did not answer Gizmodo’s question about how many Nest customers could have been affected by this issue.

Featured image: Nest