Is Alexa Dangerous? Things You Should Do To Keep It Safe


Is Alexa Dangerous

Alexa is potentially as dangerous as accepting terms and conditions and disclaimers and accepting cookies on websites without reading what goes inside them.

Alexa is predominantly used worldwide, with over 65 million users as per data in 2021. This has potentially increased to 70 million now or even more. Are 70 million users risking it by using Alexa? Alexa is used by users of all ages, from children to elderlies, and has been a constant companion to all.

It still poses to be dangerous. There have been various real-life cases that hint at the same.

Further reading: Alexa New Features 2022: What You need to know

Alexa Dangers That Made It To The Headlines

Alexa’s ‘give me a challenge’ gone wrong

In one such case, Alexa suggested a 10-year-old touch a penny with the exposed prongs of the wall socket when asked to suggest a challenge. However, the girl’s mother was present at the scene and prevented it. Later, Alexa also claimed responsibility for the fault and claimed to improve their system further.

Hackers using lasers to control Alexa

Though no real-life event has happened, researchers have found that hackers can control your Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant devices by throwing lasers on the microphones. This enables such hackers to give commands to your voice assistants. They can order something online, control smart home devices or even start a car if remotely linked to the speaker.

Alexa keeps listening and records your conversations

Anything the user says after the wake command ‘Alexa’ is recorded and sent to its cloud server. These recordings are permanently stored until the user deletes them manually. If a user uses Alexa in its conversations, it will begin a conversation said beyond it.

These were some of the possible dangers. However, users can always take a step to keep Alexa safe.

How to Keep Alexa Safe

How to Keep Alexa Safe

  1. Unable the Alexa sidewalk feature

If it feels like the Alexa sidewalk threatens your privacy and security, you can disable it in the Ring or Alexa app. Amazon Sidewalk is a medium to enable all Alexa devices in your premises (colony) to work better. It is a shared network with a low-bandwidth network range that helps connect all the Alexa devices connect to smart devices nearby.

This sometimes poses a threat to security when used by a stranger. Though created with multiple layers of security, hackers can still enter your network with their expertise.

To disable the Sidewalk feature, go to Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk > toggle off Amazon Sidewalk.

  1. Delete your recordings

Alexa is always listening. When someone says a wake word like Alexa, it starts recording the conversations (no matter whether the conversation is directed towards Alexa or not). It not only listens but records the entire conversation and stores it in its remote cloud server.

This is part of the process of how Alexa works. As a user commands, it sends the command to the server. The command is processed, and the answer is sent back immediately. In this process, all the commands and conversations remained stored in the remote server.

However, it has been revealed that Amazon Web Services uses this data to personalize your searches and everything you do on the internet.

You cannot stop Alexa from recording your conversation, but you can delete them manually using the Alexa app. To delete your stored Alexa recording on the Alexa app, follow the:

  • Tap More in the bottom right corner
  • Go to Alexa Settings> Alexa Privacy
  • Now go to Manage your Alexa data and choose how long to save recordings
  • You can directly check on ‘Don’t save my recordings’ to allow Alexa to not save them.

Furthermore, if you do not want Alexa to record your conversations, you can mute it. You can unmute it only when you want Alexa to listen. This will stop Alexa from always listening.

  1. Don’t put Alexa near the window

If you read about hackers using lasers to control Alexa, you would know why you shouldn’t put Alexa near the window. Alexa shouldn’t be kept in such a place where it is easier for hackers to throw lasers on the microphone of Alexa.

If they are able to do so, you are making it easier for them to control your Alexa and every device connected to it. If your It’s a Human Thing car is connected to your smart speaker, someone can open your car through the Alexa command and be gone with it.

  1. Do not use Alexa skills that require financial information

Using Alexa skills to book an Uber is one of the kinds that require you to share your bank details. It also requires your home address details to be shared with Uber through Alexa.

Though Amazon no personal information is shared to third-party apps without your permission, hackers are always one step ahead. They can still access this information from these third-party apps by breaking in (if they find any loophole). They can also gather your bank details from the smart devices used around your home.

Users should refrain from linking their bank accounts and sensitive information to such third-party apps. Do not save any password on such apps being controlled by Alexa.

  1. Use smart home gadgets smartly

An automated smart lock that locks and unlocks with an Alexa command. This means, if you command Alexa to unlock the door, you are feeding your security lock code into Alexa’s memory. Hackers can stealthily steal this information from Alexa’s server, sends this data to thieves, and can break into your house.

Similarly, your smart thermostats, smart TVs, and other smart devices can be hacked in without your knowledge.

There is nothing wrong with using smart devices but it’s advisable to use the ones that do not pose danger to your financial data, personal data, or your home.

You may also like: How To Unmute Alexa – The List Of The Best Alexa Commands

FAQs:

Is Alexa dangerous to have in your home?

Here’s why: Putting an Alexa device in certain parts of your home could compromise your privacy or even damage your Echo.

Can hackers use Alexa to talk?

Alexa. An attacker only needs to be close to a vulnerable device for a few seconds while it’s on and say a voice command to get it to pair with their Bluetooth-enabled device. As long as the device is within radio range of the Echo, the attacker will be able to send commands.

What’s Alexa’s secret code?

So, a couple of months ago, a fun Easter egg that only old-school gamers would know about and enjoy was found. This was Alexa’s Super mode. Say the following voice command to turn on the Super Alexa Mode: “Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.”

Can anyone get to my Alexa?

People sometimes forget that their Amazon passwords protect their Alexa devices and keep them safe. If someone knows your Amazon password, they can access your Alexa recordings, your smart devices like security systems and cameras, your daily schedule, the ability to make purchases, and much more.

Is Alexa less safe than Siri?

Siri works with fewer devices than Alexa, but it also cares more about your privacy. Apple is a little pickier about who can use its services because HomeKit requires special encryption to connect.

Can hackers hack into Alexa?

Alexa. An attacker only needs to be close to a vulnerable device for a few seconds while it’s on and say a voice command to get it to pair with their Bluetooth-enabled device. As long as the device is within radio range of the Echo, the attacker will be able to send commands.

Final Words

Alexa is dangerous in certain situations like when linked with smart devices when it’s always listening and recording the conversation and at times skills can cause trouble.

However, this can be managed and eliminated. Users can still use Alexa in moderation and make the best use of it without feeling vulnerable.

Levi Alston

I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right smart speaker.

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