Prevent Your Smart Speaker From Eavesdropping
Perhaps you have already got yourself one of those fancy smart speakers and are having some fun finding out what it can do. The chances are you’ve worked out it is always listening, even when you don’t want it to. If you suspect you have got a smart speaker that’s eavesdropping perhaps following these tips will help you feel safer and more secure.
Voice assistants or smart speakers come with a range of features and settings. It is always a good idea to take some time to get familiar with them and to learn how to set it up to keep personal information secure. Try following these ten helpful tips to limit the risks.
1. Think About What You Connect
Often, the intention is that the smart speaker will be used to control the heating, lights and TV in your home. However, the smartest move is to not connect it to your security system. A thief could yell ‘Open the door,’ and the smart speaker would oblige.
2. Delete Past Commands
Smart speakers save commands so regularly delete those related to private information. Your device will have to relearn them but smart speakers learn fast.
There’s bound to be data you wouldn’t want the smart speaker to store such as your credit card information, passwords or Social Security number. If this kind of data ends up on your smart device anyone who asks can have access to it.
4. Keep The Microphone Off
When it’s not in use keep the speaker on mute. It’s the simplest way to be sure your device is not listening. Unmute it when you want to know about the weather, or just take a peek outside.
5. Switch Purchasing Off
One handy feature is how voice assistants can be set to make a purchase on command although it also means anyone can. Set up a password just for when you want to shop online and don’t give it out to anyone.
6. Receive Emails As Notifications
If someone does manage to place an order or even worse, make a purchase, it is usually followed up with an email. Set your phone to receive notifications so that if your parrot, dog or 4-year-old is smarter than you thought you can quickly cancel an order.
7. Keep ‘Personal Results’ Set To Off
Your smart speaker can be of help when paying bills but that includes saving your passwords, account numbers and payment details. Turn the personal results settings off to keep these kinds of details private.
8. Mind Your Network
Don’t take the smart speaker out and use an open wi-fi hotspot. Instead, stick to using a WPA2 encrypted Wi-Fi network safely at home. You can always set up a separate Wi-Fi network for unsecured IoT devices for guests.
9. Use Voice Recognition
Work on setting up your speaker’s voice recognition function. With input, the speaker is able to distinguish voices and will learn to respond only to yours – most of the time.
10. Use Strong Passwords
Make sure your service account is linked to the device and protected by a complicated password preferably, using two-factor authentication. It will stop anybody using your account to listen in remotely.
Voice assistants are always at risk of being hacked, and relentless cybercriminals will not give up trying to find its vulnerabilities. Even so, if you use caution when sharing information with your voice assistant, you can outsmart them.
Read below to find out how.
To delete your history and keep past conversations private:
- Open Alexa using your phone.
- On the top left of your screen, click on Menu
- Select Settings, then go to Alexa Account
- Click on the option, Alexa Privacy.
- If you’re not already logged in, log into your account.
- Click on Review Voice History
- Under Date Range, select one of the options
- Select the recordings you want to delete.
- Click on Delete All Recordings for [time frame selected].
To prevent Amazon using your data to improve Alexa:
According to a recent news story, Amazon hired people just to listen to random conversations on voice assistant devices as part of their product research and development. However, you can opt-out of being a part of this by following these steps.
- Select Menu on the top left.
- Click on Manage How Can Your Data Improve Alexa, on the Alexa Privacy options page
- Click the Help Develop the New Features off.
- Use Messages to Help Improve Transcriptions and toggle off the names.
To stop Google access to Voice and Audio activity:
- Go to myaccount.google.com
- On the left sidebar, click on Data & Personalization
- In the Activity controls section for Voice & Audio Activity, click on Paused,
To delete your audio activity and voice
- Select My Activity in the Activity and timeline section bar.
- Select Delete activity by, on the left bar. (On a mobile, you can find this in the top left corner)
- Under Delete by date, select the first pull-down arrow.
- Click on All Time.
- Select Delete
- When Google asks if you want to delete all data, click Delete
When all the kinks and flaws on smart speakers have been worked through, having your own personal voice assistant could easily be the next leap forward in home technology. Even so, your smart speaker has to do nothing more or less than you command it to do. These days, no one can afford to play fast and loose with their personal details and the idea of strangers listening should always be an absolute no-no. But, at the end of the day, any smart speaker voice assistant is just a machine. Although these smart home devices might have functions galore to play with, each and every one still comes ready set up with a handy off switch.