If you're buying a second-hand Nest Cam, make sure you're not being spied on

Nest Cam IQ
Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: TechRadar)

Update: Google has rolled out a fix for the issue with previously connected Wink accounts, so your security footage should now be safe from previous owners.

"We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras connected to third-party partner services via Works with Nest," a Google spokesperson told TechRadar. "We've since rolled out a fix for this issue that will update automatically, so if you own a Nest camera, there's no need to take any action."

Our original story is below... 

If you buy yourself a second-hand Nest Cam then you don't really want the previous owner peeking in on your home – but that's a possibility in some cases, according to reports.

The vulnerability comes through a connection to the Wink smart home hub, Wirecutter reports. Based on the experiences of one Nest Cam user and some testing done by the Wirecutter, resetting a Nest Cam doesn't necessarily reset the Wink hub link.

That means the camera feed can still be accessed through a Wink account even if the Nest Cam has been passed on to someone else. Not really the best scenario for a home security product. 

Google has told Business Insider it's aware of the problem and is looking into a fix, though at the moment we don't know how quickly that fix might roll out.

Works with Nest

Various third-party apps and services can connect to Nest Cams using the Works with Nest protocol – which coincidentally Google is retiring in the near future in favor of a Works with Google Assistant program.

The key benefit is that your smart home devices can play together happily even if they're from different manufacturers. That said, you don't want those connections still in place when you sell on your Nest Cam.

For the time being there doesn't seem to be any way to deactivate the Wink connection from the Nest Cam end, so if you've purchased Nest Cams second-hand in the past, the best advice we can give you is to leave them switched off for now.

Hopefully Google and Wink should be able to work out how to cut the link remotely in the near future, and we'll update this article when they do.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.