Nest is updating its security measures to ensure your home network is safe. The Alphabet-owned company is today introducing two-factor authentication for account holders. This means that when the feature is enabled — after entering your email and password as normal — you’ll be prompted to enter a code that’s delivered to you by text message.
To enable this new security measure within the Nest app, go to account security and toggle “2-step verification.” When it’s turned on, you’ll have to log back into the app. If multiple people in the home have an account, they’ll have to turn two-factor authentication on individually. Unless everyone has it enabled, your home network is still vulnerable.
While Nest did not disclose any recent specific incidents that led it to add new security measures, it’s not immune to them. The Daily Dot reported last summer that a security bug within Nest thermostats had leaked location information about the owners. Nest quickly patched the vulnerability, but the potential for danger was there, underscoring how these devices, no matter how convenient they make life, can also negatively impact your security if things go wrong.
The addition of two-factor authentication comes as various forms of technology face an increasing number of cyber attacks, and connected devices are particularly likely to be a target. Last year, the Mirai malware infected home routers and insecure connected devices to launch a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against DNS provider Dyn, causing large parts of the internet to shut down across the U.S. Nest is perhaps seeking to minimize this type of risk by offering users additional protection.
The threat to home security systems is not just the possibility of attackers seizing control of connected devices to bring down services around the world. A hacker could also take over someone’s Nest Cam to spy on them in the home, or could use the system to orchestrate a burglary, or tap into your Wi-Fi network through a Nest thermostat to spy on your online activities.
Nest chief technology officer Matt Rogers explained the enhanced security in a blog post: “We’re constantly tweaking and adjusting how we protect your data, as new technologies become available or we learn about new threats. Because all Nest products are connected to Wi-Fi, those updates are sent directly to Nest Thermostats, Nest Protect smoke alarms, and Nest Cam security cameras. Keeping your data safe is hugely important to us. And we’re going to keep working to protect it.”