Quirky needs your Wink Hub back after a botched security update

After a failed security update, Quirky asks Wink Hub owners to send their units in for a repair.

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
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Rich Brown
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Quirky asks Wink Hub owners to send smart-home control center in for a repair. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Updated, April 20, 10:22 a.m. PT: A Wink representative issued the following statement:

"Yesterday, Sunday, April 19, Wink worked diligently to enable a self-service fix for users comfortable making some quick changes to their home's router settings. Instructions for users recovering their Wink Hub can be found at recovery.wink.com. For those who wish to send their Hub in for repair, they can continue to do so free of charge by visiting hubrepair.quirky.com. We'll provide a box and shipping label and be sending replacement Hubs as soon as possible.

Approximately 25% of Wink users were impacted by Saturday's outage and we were able to recover and reconnect 40% of those users within 10 hours. Thousands have already selected the self-service fix and by the end of Monday, April 20 we expect the outage to be limited to 10% of Wink users."

After failing to update an expiring element of its security software, Quirky is asking users to send in their Wink Hub smart-home control centers for an update.

From an email that went out to Hub owners this morning:

To cut to the chase: We need your Wink Hub back. We'll update it and get it back to you within a few days. We've done all we can to make the process as simple as possible -- Just click here.

We're terribly embarrassed by this whole situation. This outage was completely preventable and caused by a security measure that was put in place to protect you and your family. Unfortunately we failed to make an update to a security measure that was expiring, and therefore locked down your Hub's access to the server.

Click through the email, and you'll eventually navigate through a process in which Quirky will send you a box with prepaid shipping to send your Hub unit back to the company.

The company said it is also suspending sales of new Wink Hubs until it can fix the issue. It expects to resolve the issues by the end of the week; Quirky will also give affected users a $50 credit to the Wink store. Watch out for those shipping charges, though: to send a connected Pivot Power Strip to Kentucky, Quirky wants $14.63 for UPS Ground.

Take a closer look at Wink's new hub (pictures)

See all photos

Despite a game attempt to make up for the inconvenience, this is just the latest example of quality-control issues in Quirky's Wink smart-home line. Among other issues, we've found lots of products in the Wink line buggy and unreliable .

The company generated a lot of hype for itself by releasing a wide range of affordable smart home products last year. To hold on to what's left of its identity as an early leader in the smart-home category, it's going to have to show it can create and support a broad product ecosystem -- which I suspect will need to happen sooner rather than later.