developer mode

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Nest thermostat vulnerable because of “developer mode”

The Nest thermostat is a smart home automation device that aims to learn about your heating and cooling habits to help optimize your scheduling and power usage. Debuted in 2010, the smart NEST devices have been proved a huge success that Google spent $3.2B to acquire the whole company. However, the smartness of the thermostat also breeds security vulnerabilities, similar to all other smart consumer electronics. The severity of security breach has not been fully embraced due to the traditional assumption that thermostat cannot function more than a thermostat even though users are enjoying its smartness. Equipped with two ARM cores, in addition to WiFi and ZigBee chips, this is no ordinary thermostat. In the Blackhat presentation, the three researchers demonstrated how to fully control a Nest with a USB connection within seconds (plug in a USB for 15 seconds and walk away with a fully rooted Nest). This way, Google’s Nest thermostat, poster-child for its Internet of Things ambitions and data collector of your home habits, gives root access to anyone with a USB drive and a quarter-minute to spare. Read the full abstract of the paper here . While their attack needs physical access to the devices for “ten to 15…

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