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Need-to-Know Amazon Alexa Security Issues

February 28, 2018

Bringing Alexa into your home can feel almost like stepping into a science fiction movie. After all, wasn’t it not that long ago that talking to a computer was something you could only do on Star Trek?

The truth is that the future is now, and you can now have a seemingly all-knowing device in your living room ready to answer your most burning questions, turn on your HVAC, and order your laundry soap. Yet, there is a potentially dangerous side of Alexa. After all, the Echo device is always on, listening to you and even recording your voice.

So if you want to enjoy the convenience and novelty of an Amazon Echo or similar device, how can you practice safety? Here at Trinity Wiring & Security, we want you to understand how to protect yourself while enjoying this technological addition to your home. Here are some tips to help you enjoy Alexa safely.

1. Consider Turning off the Mic

What makes an Echo potentially dangerous is the microphone. This is what allows Alexa to respond to you when you have a question or wish to order something from Amazon, but it also means the device is always in the background listening. When you have a private conversation, consider switching the mic off using the small button on the top. Keep in mind that with the mic off, Alexa cannot be your personal assistant, so you will want to turn on the mic when you wish to use the device or are done with your private conversation.

2. Don’t Let People Drop In

The Echo recently got a new feature known as “Drop In.” This feature allows other Echoes to connect to yours, starting a conversation and even listening to what your Echo is hearing. This, obviously, could be problematic.

Fortunately, it’s easy to stop others from dropping in. Under the settings option in your Echo app, find your device. Then scroll down and tap “Drop In.” Here you can decide who can drop in. Either turn the feature off or select “Only My Household” to protect yourself from prying ears.

3. Adjust Voice Purchasing Options

Finally, one area where you want to be careful with the Echo is with its voice purchasing feature. This is the feature that allows you to say “Alexa, buy more dish soap,” and have your Amazon account automatically charged and the dish soap sent your way.

This is, by far, one of the most futuristic features of the Echo, but it can also easily be misused. A child could order something without his or her parents’ knowledge using this feature, and the resulting bills could be steep. To avoid these problems, add a “Voice Code” to the feature. This four-digit PIN will ensure that only you are able to order through the Echo. Just make sure you only use the PIN in private, as anyone listening to you could learn your PIN quickly.

As you can see, there are a few security risks with the Echo, but if you want to bring Alexa into your home, don’t worry. With the right tweaks, you can enjoy the convenience and novelty of the Echo, without putting your family or your home at risk.

If you are looking for more information about improving the security of your home, contact the security experts at Trinity Wiring & Security.

 

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