Google Temporarily Blocks Xiaomi Integration with Some of its Hardware and Services

Google Temporarily Blocks Xiaomi Integration with Some of their Hardware and Services

Last edited: January 6, 2020
Reading time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

Google temporarily disabled the integration of Xiaomi IoT-devices with some of their hardware and services. The tech giant took this measure after a user reported seeing unfamiliar still images, apparently coming from other cameras. Last Friday, Xiaomi confirmed that “they identified and fixed the problem”. Google will reinstate camera functionality when they are confident that the issue has been fully resolved.

Xiaomi Smart Camera Streams Other People’s Feeds

The Xiaomi privacy issue was first reported by a user on Reddit, an open discussion forum. The Xiaomi Mijia camera owner was able to intermittently see random people’s homes when trying to stream content from his camera to a Google Nest hub.

The user could see stills of unfamiliar living rooms, a man asleep on a chair and even an infant in a cradle. The clear stills also included timestamps.

Google Takes Immediate Action

A Google employee reacted to the feed almost immediately and took swift action: “We were made aware of an issue where a Reddit user posted that their Nest Hub was able to access other people’s Xiaomi camera feeds. We’ve been working with Xiaomi and we’re comfortable that the issue was limited to their camera technology platform.”

While Google worked on the issue with Xiaomi, they made the decision to disable all Xiaomi integrations on their devices. “We will not reinstate camera functionality for Xiaomi devices until we are confident that the issue has been fully resolved.”

Google has put strict requirements on which third party devices can be used with its hardware and services. The list includes two dozen security cameras.

Issue Fixed, but Could Have Impacted 1,044 Users

A spokesperson for Xiaomi confirmed that they had identified the problem and that the issue is now fixed. Apparently, the bug was caused by a recent update designed to improve camera streaming quality. Stills would pop up only if a user had the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p in combination with the Google Hub and a display screen working under poor network conditions.

Up to 1,044 users had this specific setup with only a few experiencing the same type of poor network connection. According to Xiaomi, the issue would not have happened if the camera was linked to Xiaomi’s Mi Home app.

Google Play Protect had already temporarily blocked the Xiaomi app, Mi Quick Apps, in November, also following an update. The issue was later resolved.

IoT Devices Come with Security Warning

Although IoT devices are unstoppable and increasingly popular, they do come with a warning. It is certainly not the first time IoT Devices have been at the center of privacy and security issues.

Recently, Wyze confirmed that one of its servers leaked and exposed the details of roughly 2.4 million customers. In another case, a hacker broke into a Ring camera in the bedroom of young girls, using weak password security. Just a few months ago, a hacker was even able to take over a couple’s Nest devices, raise the temperature in the house using their smart thermostat and blast vulgar music through their speakers.

IT communication specialist
Sandra has many years of experience in the IT and tech sector as a communication specialist. She's also been co-director of a company specializing in IT, editorial services and communications project management. For VPNoverview.com she follows relevant cybercrime and online privacy developments.

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