In the era of smart homes which are automated for your utmost comfort, Google provides us with the Google Home to help make life even easier. But as we know, every technological advancement has a couple of people trying to take advantage of it by stealing personal information. You must be wondering if that’s possible with Google Home. 

Google Home can definitely be hacked by third parties using various means. 

Keep reading to find out how that can happen and ways to prevent it. 

How Can Google Home Be Hacked?

Google Home can be hacked using two methods which include:

  1. Your WiFi router
  2. Third party apps

Let’s look into both of these below.

Getting Hacked via Your Router

The most commonly used way for hackers to access Google Home devices is to log in to the  Wi-Fi network which the device is logged in to as well. 

This is usually done by hijacking the Wi-Fi router and leveraging on the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol used by almost all consumer Wi-Fi routers out there. UPnP is a protocol that facilitates the identification of devices and services on the network, it also facilitates connection and communication. You will usually notice the LANs use of devices on the same network. 

If you are wondering why it hasn’t been fixed yet. The answer is that UPnP is designed to work within a secure network, not over the Internet. Therefore, there is little incentive for manufacturers to find a solution to this.

If you’d like to learn more about Google Home, check out this article.

Disabling your UPnP

However, not everything is lost. You can disable the UPnP protocol in the advanced settings of your WiFi router. If you don’t know how to do this, try contacting your Internet Service Provider. Remember to reset your Google Home device to factory after disabling UPnP. 

Then add the device again using the Google Home application. Unfortunately, not all routers can disable UPnP. In this scenario, it is advisable to change the router if you’re vulnerable. Routers manufactured by almost all major manufacturers have been identified as highly vulnerable to this exploitation technique. 

Fortunately, the router not on the list is Google WiFi. Therefore, if you want to change your router, Google Wi-Fi could be a very good alternative, as Google is likely to fix the security vulnerability. 

This router can be found on Amazon.

Hacked by an Application Developed by a Third Party for Google Nest

Not long ago, researchers at Security Research Labs sought to ethically hack Google Home by creating seemingly harmless actions that were later submitted for review. If accepted, take action to initiate a false error message instead of a normal message for actions taken to convince the user that the device is not turned on and is not listening. 

This error message was followed by a one-minute silent prayer that was manipulated, followed by a phishing message informing that security updates were available and prompting for a password to continue. The password is saved when spoken and sent to the hacker.

How to Prevent Being Hacked From Third Party Applications

Despite reporting this to Google, they have released an update indicating that the vulnerability has not yet been fixed. It’s unclear at this point if it has been fixed, so we recommend that you take the necessary steps to protect your home from Google. 

The best way to ensure protection from this type of phishing attack is to understand that Google will never require you to enter your password this way. Also, one should quickly find these error messages and report them immediately. 

There are other ways to prevent this as well. Keep reading to find out. 

How To Prevent Google Home From Being Hacked

Now we know that Google’s home can be hacked, here are some best practices to protect your Google home from hackers.

Protect Wi-Fi

Start by staying away from public Wi-Fi networks shared by strangers. Make sure your Wi-Fi is password protected. This prevents other users on the network from accessing devices on the network.

Enable Voice Recognition

You can set Google Nest to respond only to the set voice. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Home application. 
  2. Tap the home button at the bottom and go  to Settings. 
  3. Tap the More Settings button under the Google Assistant service. 
  4. Then Assistant-> Voice Match-> Add Device. 

This will prevent strangers from activating Google Nest.

Purchase and Payment Confirmation

One of the joys of smart speakers is that you can order things just by talking. The downside is that people can benefit from this convenience. 

To protect your money, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings in the Google Home application. 
  2. Payment settings allow you to verify your identity before making a purchase and choose whether to confirm your payment with your fingerprint. 
  3. Keep them going. 
  4. If you’re having trouble remembering the different passwords you’ve set for different accounts, consider using a password manager to prevent your accounts from being hacked.

Now, let’s look at keeping your email up to date.

Keep Your Email Up to Date

You are very likely to be notified by email of unauthorized access, activity, or purchases. It’s important to check your email to find out when security is being compromised.

Conclusion 

It’s not shocking news that you don’t want your Google Home hacked. In this article, we’ve explored many different intricacies of hacking pathways and protections and we hope this gives you a safer onward journey with Google Home.