[Update 3: Resolved] Google temporarily kills Mi Home integration with Assistant following creepy Xiaomi security camera bug
The advent of smartphones has also brought us smart, well, everything. Smart light bulbs, smart cameras for your home, and of course, smart hubs so you can access your voice assistant of choice anywhere in your home and interact with all of these things. But of course, one big concern remains, and that is the privacy factor. After all, not everyone feels comfortable having an Internet-connected, always-on camera watching you while you sleep or while you’re at home. These concerns may very well get more vocal following one creepy incident that happened yesterday with a Google Nest Hub and a Xiaomi Mijia smart security cam.
A Redditor with the screenname /u/Dio-V who owns a Google Nest Hub and a number of Xiaomi cameras around their home asked the Google Assistant to display one of their cameras’ feeds. Instead of seeing a feed from their own cameras, they got stills that were seemingly from other people’s homes, including that of a baby sleeping and an old man sleeping in a chair. Further contributing to this creepiness is the fact that all stills were distorted and black and white as if we were watching a horror film. Given it’s a real issue and assuming that these are indeed live images from other people’s homes, this potentially represents a major security vulnerability. It could mean that your own home’s feed could have shown up on a random person’s smart display anywhere else around the world.
Credits: /u/Dio-V posting on /r/Xiaomi
In order to stop this from happening and to investigate it better, Google has temporarily killed Google Assistant integration for Mi Home smart home products, including light bulbs, cameras, and more. We tried to connect to a Xiaomi smart lamp through both a Google Home Mini and the Google Home app and we were unsuccessful for both, suggesting that the integration has been killed effective immediately. A Google spokesperson stated to Android Authority that they were “aware of the issue and are in contact with Xiaomi to work on a fix. In the meantime, we’re disabling Xiaomi integrations on our devices.”
We will update this article if Xiaomi issues a response or if this issue is resolved.
Via: Android Authority
Update 1: Xiaomi issues statement
Xiaomi has reached out to us with a statement on the issue:
Xiaomi has always prioritized our users’ privacy and information security. We are aware there was an issue of receiving stills while connecting Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p on Google Home hub. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to our users.
Our team has since acted immediately to solve the issue and it is now fixed. Upon investigation, we have found out the issue was caused by a cache update on December 26, 2019, which was designed to improve camera streaming quality. This has only happened in extremely rare conditions. In this case, it happened during the integration between Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p and the Google Home Hub with a display screen under poor network conditions.
We have also found 1044 users were with such integrations and only a few with extremely poor network conditions might be affected. This issue will not happen if the camera is linked to the Xiaomi’s Mi Home app.
Xiaomi has communicated and fixed this issue with Google, and has also suspended this service until the root cause has been completely solved, to ensure that such issues will not happen again.
Update 2: Integration Back
Xiaomi says its integration with Google Assistant devices is now back up for all the non-camera smart home devices. Google took swift action to block integration with all Mi Home devices following the camera bug. Xiaomi has now been able to return integration to other Mi Home devices, but they are still investigating the camera issues. Both Xiaomi and Google should be taking this major security mishap seriously.
Source: Android Police
Update 3: Resolved
Xiaomi says it has resolved the issue that caused feeds from other users’ Mi Home cameras to appear on the Google Nest Hub. The Google integration that was halted after the issue popped up has been resumed as of today. The company shared the following statement with us:
“We now confirm that we have fully resolved the root cause of this issue, and Xiaomi’s Google integration service has resumed from 16, January. Users can now use Xiaomi’s Mi security camera services via Nest devices. At Xiaomi, we take user privacy and information security as top priority. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused for affected users. We will take even stronger measures to prevent such incidents in the future.”