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Insider Threats

Tech Insight: Hacking The Nest Thermostat

Researchers at Black Hat USA demonstrated how they were able to compromise a popular smart thermostat.

Photo Credit: Sarah Sawyer
Photo Credit: Sarah Sawyer

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Tom Mariner
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50%
Tom Mariner,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/31/2014 | 11:05:50 AM
Access to my Nest Thermostat
So someone standing in my living room can pry my Nest off the wall, connect a computer, upload, replace it and I'm hacked? If he was standing there he could also shoot my dog and drink my best wine. The point is??
Somedude8
50%
50%
Somedude8,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/18/2014 | 1:07:01 PM
House too warm?
Hacker sets thermostat to 120. Email arrives with bad English asking for $500 to return control of the thermostat.

That strikes me as a really funny possibility!
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 7:07:56 PM
Re: Nesting
> if an attacker has physical access to the device.

Cue horror movie music: They're calling from inside the house!

If someone is tinkering with the Nest inside your house, worry about arson, theft, or physical violence.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 4:42:39 PM
HP tried to warn us
Remember, on July 29, HP's Fortify div. tried to warn us. It didn't name specific vendors but cited thermostats. http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/software-as-a-service/hp-warns-of-iot-security-risks/d/d-id/1297617
johnhsawyer
100%
0%
johnhsawyer,
User Rank: Moderator
8/14/2014 | 3:58:10 PM
Re: Nesting
I didn't want to get too deep into it in the article, but I also have 2 Nest thermostats and don't have any plans to get rid of them. I also want to add some of the Nest Protect fire and carbon monoxide alarms. I'm not worried about someone tracking if I'm "away" or not. If a bad guy wanted to know if I'm home or away, they can drive by my house -- no need to compromise my Nest to figure it out.

As for a Nest being a source of attack, mine are connected to a separate, isolated wireless network that is segmented from the rest of my network. One of them is rooted and the other is not. I've also been monitoring the traffic on the Nest network as it's something of interest since I have clients in the utility industry that may be encountering Nests in their clients' homes. Eventually, I want to look into sniffing the Nest Weave communications with my RZ Raven and Killerbee.

I'm glad these guys published their findings. It was something that I was interested from a personal and professional perspective. It's also something very relevant as the Internet of Things continues to introduce more and more devices onto our networks.

-jhs
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
8/14/2014 | 1:55:30 PM
Nesting
I don't know whether I'm reassured or frightened by Daniel Buentello's quote "Even after all this research and knowing how bad it can be, I'm still not giving mine up and I have two." I'm guessing the Black Hat audience shared that point of view... 

 
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