Building a smarthome can be expensive. You might consider buying used gadgets to save money, but maybe you should hold off. As one person found, even after a factory reset, they could still see feeds from Nest Cams they sold.
Late last night, Eric Gibson posted shocking news to a closed Wink Facebook group. He had factory reset Nest Cams properly and sold them. Despite that fact, after the new owner connected the Nest cams to their account, Eric started seeing images from the feed in his Wink app.
As it turns out, removing the Nest Cams from his Wink app was a step he overlooked, and likely doing so would solve the problem for him, but the fact that he could see somebody’s Nest feed coming from an account he didn’t access to was, as he accurately put it, “disturbing” and “should not be possible.”
The issue isn’t on Wink’s end but seems to stem from Works with Nest, which is shutting eventually. But after recent direction changes from Google, existing connections will hold until a user chooses to convert their account to Works with Google Assistant. Without a fix, anyone who had been affected by this bug would continue broadcasting images unknowingly to strangers who sold them Nest Cams.
The Wirecutter quickly reproduced the issue and reached out to Google for comment. Eric confirmed to us that he had reported the problem to Wink, who determined the problem wasn’t on its end and passed relevant information to Google. The good news is, Google already has a fix rolling out to prevent this from happening in the future.
We’ve said before you should always factory reset your smarthome devices properly before disposing or selling them. In light of this news though, maybe you should think twice before selling them or buying used smarthome devices in the first place. [The Wirecutter]
In Other News:
- Microsoft released free eye-tracking games: Games designed specifically for people with disabilities are few are far between. Yesterday Microsoft released four free games explicitly designed for eye-tracking control. The company hopes others will follow suit and take advantage of the built-in eye tracking APIs now included in Windows. [ZDNet]
- The latest Kindle Oasis has a warm light and better battery: The Kindle Oasis is likely one of the most luxurious (and also expensive) e-readers you can own. Now it’s getting better, with a new warm light option that should be easier on the eyes at night, upgraded e-ink technology for faster page loads, and a bigger battery. The new Oasisis available starting July 24th. [TechRadar]
- Now you can build your own touchscreen laptop: Kano, the company behind the build your own Linux computers and programmable Harry Potter wands, has a new trick up its sleeve. Build your own Windows touchscreen laptop. That they partnered with Microsoft shows, as this laptop strongly resembles a Surface Pro. It runs on an Atom processor and Windows 10 S and goes for a reasonable $300. We want one. For our kids. Yeah. Definitely just for our kids. [The Verge]
- Microsoft’s Edge on Chromium browser now works Windows 7 and 8: Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser continues to grow and expand. Yesterday the company announced that you could start testing the Canary builds on Windows 7 and 8, and 8.1. Microsoft says the feature set is mostly the same as found on Windows 10. Our main question is, if you’re still on Window 8.0, why? At least upgrade to 8.1. [Techdows]
- A Twitter bug notifies people you unfollow: Unfollow anyone on Twitter lately? They might know. Twitter has now acknowledged a bug that leads to users receiving a notification when they’re unfollowed. The notification says the person “followed you back,” which is the opposite of what happened and makes it easy to realize the truth. Awkward. [Vice]
- Play this awesome Super Mario Battle Royale while you can: What’s better than playing Super Mario NES inspired levels? Playing with 75 other people at once and trying to be the last Mario standing. If you hurry now, you can try this unofficial game before Nintendo shuts it down forever. [TechSpot]
- Forget Wi-Fi, Signify wants you to use Li-Fi: Signify, the company behind Philips Hue bulbs has a new trick up its sleeve. Internet broadcasting over light waves instead of radio waves (like Wi-Fi). Dubbed Li-Fi, Signify promises wireless connection speeds up to 250mbps. To start, the company is targetting businesses before consumers. [9to5Mac]
- A Florida city paid $600,000 to ransomware attackers: Riviera Beach City has a significant problem; some ransomware infected its computers. Hackers made their way in when an employee clicked a link in a phishing email. Before they could stop it, city records were encrypted, email system disrupted, and more. The city council agreed to pay $600,000 to the hackers in the hopes they’ll decrypt all the data — hopefully, the city takes precautions to protect itself from ransomware in the future. [AP News]
Scientists have been studying the skull of a rather strange whale for decades, and have finally discovered why it’s so unusual. The whale in question is the child of a narwhal mother (the unicorn of the sea), and a beluga father (the subject of one of the best children’s songs ever).
It’s one of those discoveries that, in retrospect, makes sense. If you compare the skull in question to the skulls of belugas and narwhals, you’ll see district traits from each.
Narwhal females lack the distinguishing tusks we tend to associate with the species and are a similar size and shape to belugas. So it’s easy to imagine a beluga male confusing a narwhal female for its species, but in the many years we’ve studied the two, we haven’t seen other instances of intermingling.
Modern DNA tests are much better than the tests scientists used in the past (one researcher called the previous tests “lousy”), and they even narrowed this particular whale to a 50/50 mix of the two species, making it a first-generation hybrid. Because of their location in the remote Arctic, we monitor the two species infrequently at best, so it’s possible other hybrids exist we haven’t come across. But researches suspect it’s a rare occurrence at best. [Science News]