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Do Nest Thermostats Have Cameras or Microphones in Them? (You’re Safe!)

Nest Thermostat Spying Eye

It is true that Google Nest has allowed us to have a smart home that is easy and efficient to use in the sense that it makes everything so simple. You can access all of your home’s smart features with just your smartphone. That’s why the Nest Thermostat has found its way in a lot of different homes because of how it makes controlling the heating and cooling in your house simple and easy.

But, with all of the different privacy concerns we are dealing with in today’s digital age especially when it comes to the people behind the products and to the potential cybercriminals who can hack into the products, you might be worried about your Nest Thermostat’s security risk. So, do Nest Thermostats have cameras in them?

Google Nest Thermostats do NOT have cameras or microphones in them. They simply function as thermostats. Nest Thermostats have infrared sensors (Both IR and PIR) to detect changes in light and motion to know when to turn on the screen.

It is the Nest security products, such as the Nest Camera and the Nest Hello doorbell, that have cameras and microphones in them to help improve their security features. Google has even stated which devices have microphones. You can view that report from Business Insider here.

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In this sense, there is no need for you to fear the chances of your Nest Thermostat becoming a privacy risk on your part because it does not have a camera or a microphone. However, there is still a chance that it can be used to spy on you. And that is something that we have to talk about in detail.

Nest Thermostat disassembled

Do Nest Thermostats Have Cameras or Microphones in Them?

The Nest Thermostat has indeed become a useful household device thanks to how it is able to efficiently control the heating and cooling of our homes to the point that we could end up saving more money in the future while taking away the need for us to manually control the thermostat ourselves.

But what some people are fearing is that, in this digital age, Nest Thermostats can be security risks to the home because anyone skilled enough, or Google themselves, can basically tap into digital devices to compromise the privacy and security of an entire household. That’s why there are those who are wondering whether or not Nest Thermostats have cameras or microphones, which can be used to spy on people.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry as to whether or not Nest Thermostats can be used to spy on you visually or auditorily because Google itself confirmed that its Nest Thermostat does not have a camera or a microphone. There have also been numerous people who have take the Nest apart, and have confirmed that there are no cameras or microphones.

Instead, it is only the security products such as the Nest Camera and the Nest Hello doorbell that have cameras and microphones for obvious reasons.

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Here is a video tear down of a Nest Thermostat, so you can get a good idea for what parts are in it. I’m having it start at the part where he talks about the motion sensors. He refers to one as near-field and another as wide-angle. Earlier, I referred to them as IR and PIR sensors. Infrared sensors are often used to detect presence, and how close you are to the sensor.

There are a few good articles with pictures on the Nest Thermostat tear down located here and here.

How Does the Nest Thermostat Know When You Are Not Home?

We all know that the Nest Thermostat has a neat feature that will allow it to know when you are away from the home, so that it can alter the temperature when you are out of the house. Most of us probably are at work or at school at some point during the week. This has become so convenient as it allows you to simply walk out of your home without having to manually change the temperature yourself.

But, if the Nest Thermostat does not have a camera or a microphone, how else will it able to know whether or not you are at home or you are away? It’s not as complicated as it sounds. The Nest really does not even have to make use of a camera or a microphone to tell whether or not you are there.

The Nest Thermostat knows when you are home or not by using the location information from your smartphone, and by using the infrared motion sensor built into the thermostat. The Nest Thermostat learns routines over time to help predict if you will be home or away.

The Google Nest Thermostat is integrated with your smartphone and its available sensors. When the Nest app is installed, it will request permission use your location. This means the app will use your smartphone’s built-in GPS to know whether or not you are at home.

As such, when it has detected that you are away as shown by your phone’s GPS, it will automatically alter the temperature to save heating and cooling expenses. Meanwhile, it will then turn the temperature back up whenever it detects that you are home, or on your way home.

If you have the Nest Temperature Sensors in addition to the actual Nest Thermostat, you may want to take note of the fact that the sensors do not have motion sensors, so they cannot help with automatic switching. They simply detect the temperature of a given location.

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For more information on how Nest Thermostat, and other Nest devices, know if you are home or away, refer to Google’s support page located here.

Spying Eye on Circuit

Can the Nest Thermostat Spy on You?

It might be good news to us that the Nest Thermostat doesn’t have a camera or a microphone that can be hacked into by cybercriminals or used by Google itself to monitor what you are doing in your home. However, even though that may give us some sort of relief, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Nest Thermostat is risk-free in terms of its security risks.

Can the Nest Thermostat Spy on You? The Nest Thermostat is one of the most secure smart devices, but it can still be hacked and used to spy on the owner. If used to spy on you, the Nest Thermostat can tell when you’re home or not, knows your zip code, and knows your Wi-Fi network name and password.

The reason why Nest Thermostat can still be dangerous to your privacy and security is that it has been shown by researchers that it is still possible for it to be used to spy on a household. They were able to demonstrate how malware can be injected into a Nest Thermostat by making use of a USB flash drive.

For more info on the hack, read this article from Tom’s Guide here.

What you have to understand here is that Nest Thermostats are very secure in terms of wireless communication, as no hackers can get into them remotely (so far). But the problem is that it is not as secure when it comes to USB port on the back. Just by holding down the power button for ten seconds, you can bypass the Nest Thermostat’s USB security protocol.

In case you didn’t know, the Nest Thermostat is supposed to only accept firmware updates via its USB port if it comes with the right security code from Google, but this security feature was easily bypassed by researchers.

So, what does this mean? Well, for starters, it is possible for people to inject your Nest Thermostats with malware that can potentially become security risks for your entire family. However, it has to be done physically and not remotely. Someone has to physically have the Nest Thermostat in hand to inject malware.

As such, you have to be careful about who has access to your Nest Thermostat at home, as a guest can simply inject malware into it. Most of us don’t have people over who are capable of that, and also want to do hack our thermostat.

More importantly, be wary when it comes to people selling second-hand Nest Thermostats and when it comes to questionable retailers as it can be possible that they themselves infected the devices with malware before putting them on the market. This is the more likely scenario.

That’s why it is always better for you to buy from official sources or from trusted retailers to minimize the risk of your Nest Thermostat getting tampered with. The same is true for all your smart devices.

Does the Nest Thermostat have a speaker?

The Nest Thermostat does not have a speaker and is not made to create audible noises. Buzzing or humming indicates a problem, and should be inspected to further diagnose the problem.

Buzzing might mean you need a C wire (common wire) to help with charge the Nest’s battery. This problem has only been reported with the E and 3rd gen thermostats.

If the buzzing or humming persist, contact a Nest installation professional to help diagnose and fix the problem.

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