Google Disables Nest Hub Support for Xiaomi Devices Following Security Incidents

By Bill Toulas / January 3, 2020

Users of the Google Nest Hub app have been experiencing a weird situation in the last few days, getting video feeds from cameras of strangers on their devices. The first reports hit Reddit, and then the correlation was made quickly, with the culprit cameras having the common factor of being made by Xiaomi. Thus, Google has decided to pull its support for the Nest Hub for Xiaomi devices until their engineers determine the exact problem and how video feeds ended up with users that should have no way of accessing them.

More specifically, the problematic camera seems to be Xiaomi’s Mijia 1080p Smart IP Security Camera. One user stated that both the Nest Hub and the Mijia camera were purchased as new, so they couldn’t still run on the settings of a previous owner. The camera that was confirmed to be sending a video feed to other people was running the firmware version 3.5.1_00.66. When the user was attempting to get the video feed from his own camera, he received a partly corrupted still image from another person’s house. In some cases, users have even reported getting feeds from entirely different time zones, so this is not necessarily a neighboring interference.

While Google’s engineers haven’t figured out exactly what’s going on yet, they have pulled the plug for Xiaomi’s cameras right now and they are ruling out the possibility of the user reports being fake. One potential explanation for this could be that a debug mode/feed is being accessed by mistake. Right now, Google and Xiaomi are working together to get to the bottom of this. Similarly, Xiaomi has no idea what’s causing the problem, so they have not issued an official statement about it yet. The owners of Mijia cameras will have to patiently wait as they can no longer access their cameras through the Nest Hub.

nest hub not supporting

Source: Android Police

This is another example that is added to the pile of the security and privacy problems that arise from the use of smart home devices. Because this latest incident is happening in a seemingly random fashion, it has a less severe implication for the exposed users, albeit this depends on a variety of factors really. Still, having your images sent to other Nest Hub users on the other side of the planet is something to be worried about, to say the least.

Do you own a Mijia IP camera? Can you confirm the above behavior? Make sure to share your experience in the comments down below, or join the discussion on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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