Alexa enabled smart devices are becoming more popular these days. According to reports, more than 20 million users have already activated voice-assistant in their homes. Out of these, more than 70% share is of Amazon Alexa and remaining of Google Home. With increasing use of these devices, threats to these smart assistant have also increased. Have you ever wondered what happens to the commands which you ask your Alexa? Are these stored anywhere? If yes, then you are the right place. In this articles, we have listed some of the basic measures by which you can secure your Amazon Alexa enabled smart Devices.
Alexa is Always Listening!
Yes, you heard it right. Even though Alexa requires a wake-up command before it can start processing, these smart assistants are always in listening mode. In April 2017, Burger King aired a TV advertisement to wake up Google Home. The actor in the commercial says “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger“. Though it may sound funny, what if this wake-up call is being misused. Anyone can give the wake-up call to your Alexa and ask it to play loud music when you are asleep. Since Alexa is also used to control smart home devices, so a Burglar can easily ask Alexa to open your door and close the Alarm and security system. If you have saved your credit card details on Alexa, then its high time you delete them right now or secure your Alexa by following some security guidelines.
Does Alexa store your Recording?
Do you know that Alexa records your each and every activity and the recordings are saved on Amazon servers? These recordings are stored until you delete them manually. Although these recordings are stored in encrypted mode on the AWS cloud, but you never knew when and how your data will be leaked as nothing on the Internet is secure. Cambridge Analytica involving Facebook data leak is a recent example of this.
How to secure your Amazon Alexa Devices
Here are some ways by which you can secure your Amazon Alexa from unknown threats.
1.Secure your Network before securing your Alexa
All these smart devices require Internet Connection to work, so until your Wifi connection is not secured, you can never protect your Smart devices. Set strong and not easy to guess passwords to your network. Create Guest Log-in ID’s for outsiders and change the passwords frequently.
2. Secure your Amazon Account
All your recordings and saved information can be accessed from your Amazon account used with Alexa. Anyone having access to your account can access the saved recordings, credit card credentials, and change default settings. Enabling 2 Factor Authentication and setting up a strong password can prevent misuse of your saved information by Alexa.
3. Turn Off your Echo’s Mic
It is always suggested to turn off your Echo’s microphone when not required. As these devices can start recording if the smart assistant reacts to the wrong words. Turning the Microphone off will make your Alexa useless as a Voice assistant.
4. Switch Off Echo Show Camera
Echo Show is a small interactive device which can do lot more things than Echo Dot, Tap, and Plus. Although its camera is activated only when you start video calls, how would know if it has been hacked by someone? What if it has been recording your recordings in the background all the time. You might have seen people putting adhesive tapes over their Laptop’s webcam for their privacy. You can do the same with your Echo Show or could simply turn the Camera off by pressing the button at the top.
5. Turn Off Voice Purchasing feature if enabled.
Alexa Devices can be used for online shopping by just using your voice. Your credit card information is stored and payment is automatically processed with few simple commands. You should strictly Turn off this Voice purchasing feature or set up a PIN code to complete the purchases. Last year a six-year-old girl in Texas made a purchase Dollhouse and Cookies worth $170 by using Amazon Alexa. Her parents were in a big surprise when an expensive Dollhouse and cookies were delivered to their doorstep.
6. Delete Old Recordings Regularly
Since Alexa stores all the recordings on your linked Amazon account. It is recommended to delete those recordings frequently, especially the ones with sensitive information. Deleting the entire recording may degrade the system performance a bit, but you can always choose between your Privacy and faster response time of these devices.
7. Turn the Device Off when going on a Vacation
Planning for a vacation? Don’t forget to turn your Alexa Off before leaving. Although these devices do have voice recognition technology, but the fact is they can be easily fooled. Someone outside your house can easily activate your Alexa and ask it to open the door and play random loud music at the midnight.
So, we have listed Some of the major steps by which you can secure your Amazon Alexa Devices from outside threat. Although these devices make our life easier and are fun to use, as they say, Precaution is always better than Cure!
Do comment down in the comment section below if you think we have missed something on our list. We would always love to hear back from you.