Nest cameras continue monitoring surroundings even when switched "off"

In 2015, ABI Research discovered that the power light on the front of Alphabet's Nest Cam was deceptive: even when users had used the associated app to power down the camera and the power light went off, the device continued to monitor its surroundings, noting sound, movement, and other activities. The proof lay in the fact that the device's power drain diminished by an amount consistent with only turning off the LED light. Alphabet explained the reason was that the camera had to be ready to be turned back on at any moment and that in the power-off state it was not transmitting video to the Amazon-owned cloud-based servers where the device's data is stored. Expert commentators noted that continuous monitoring even when cameras are in an "off" state is common practice; however, the result is that the potential exists for the cameras to be used for exploitation by malicious actors wishing to spy on individuals and use the images they gather for extortion.

Writer: Paul
Publication: Security Ledger


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