Smart camera glitch exposes thousands of homes to strangers

Wyze, a smart camera company, disclosed that a glitch in its system exposed the homes of thousands of users to strangers. The incident occurred last Friday when an extensive outage rendered the Wyze app inaccessible for several hours, allowing internet-connected cameras from approximately 13,000 customers to become partially accessible to other users.

Upon service restoration, users discovered thumbnails from cameras unrelated to their own. Shockingly, over 1,500 users tapped on these thumbnails, inadvertently enlarging images or playing videos captured by someone else’s camera.

Some affected users shared their distressing experiences on a Wyze Reddit forum, expressing feelings of violation and disgust. One user, a 23-year-old woman, reported being watched while getting ready for work during the outage and promptly deleted her account.

Wyze notified users of the issue via email, partly attributing the problem to its web hosting provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS). The email apologized for the inconvenience caused during the outage, emphasizing that the disruption originated from AWS. The mix-up of camera feeds after the outage was attributed to a recently integrated “third-party caching client library,” which experienced unprecedented load conditions as devices came back online simultaneously.

To prevent a recurrence, Wyze stated that a “new layer of verification” has been implemented. Despite placing blame on AWS and the third-party library, the company expressed regret for the frustration and confusion caused by the incident, emphasizing its commitment to addressing and rectifying the situation promptly.