A California family reportedly received the shock of their lives when their home surveillance camera started blasting out a warning that North Korean missiles were heading for America and that war had broken out.
According to the Mercury News, the Lyons family were enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon at home in Orinda when an emergency alert siren, followed by an apocalyptic message that three intercontinental ballistic missiles had been fired at Los Angeles, Chicago and Ohio threw them into a panic.
“It warned that the United States had retaliated against Pyongyang and that people in the affected areas had three hours to evacuate,” said Laura Lyons, the mother of an eight-year-old boy.
“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.”
Confused, they first thought the message was coming from the television before they noticed that it was still broadcasting American football. They then realised that the voice was coming from their Nest security camera on top of the TV.
Mrs Lyons said that she and her husband initially tried to get confirmation of an attack from the media while their petrified young son took cover under a rug.
“I was like ‘alright we need to get in the car, we need to grab the dog, I wish we had more cash, which direction do we drive?’ Right down the rabbit hole, terrifying,” she said.
But the family’s panic turned to anger when they learned that they had likely been the victims of hackers.
Mrs Lyons claimed a Nest supervisor told her that there may have been a “third party hack” which had allowed someone to access their camera and its’ speakers through a compromised password. The employee allegedly said that there had been reports of multiple hacks in the last week.
“We are curious to know why we didn’t get any notification that could have prevented us from experiencing a tremendous amount of anxiety, and more importantly our poor eight-year-old was scared to death,” she said.
However, a spokesperson for Google, which owns Nest, said that Nest was not breached in this incident.
“These recent reports are based on customers using compromised passwords (exposed through breaches on other websites). In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk,” a Google spokesperson told Fox News.
“We take security in the home extremely seriously, and we’re actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords, allow customers to monitor access to their accounts and track external entities that abuse credentials.”
Mrs Lyons said that she had since deactivated the camera’s microphone.
Last year, a false emergency alert about incoming North Korean missiles caused widespread panic in the state of Hawaii after residents were mistakenly warned through a mobile phone message about an impending attack.
The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, prompted terrified Hawaiians to rush for shelter and was only revoked after 38 minutes.