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  • Writer's pictureOakland Solutions

Little Smart Speakers Have Big Ears, Pt. 2

Most of the security practices for smart speakers are the same common sense ones you use on your PC’s, laptops and other devices to prevent malware, hacking and viruses. There are a few that apply only to smart speakers, though, so it’s good idea to make sure you use the right settings to help protect your personal data.

The Oakland Solutions OZone found this helpful checklist from Norton Security to make sure you have everything covered.

Be careful what you share

There’s plenty of information you don’t want your voice assistant to know. That includes your passwords, credit card information, and social security number. Remember, it’s possible anyone could access your sensitive personal information just by asking for it.

Watch what you connect

Be selective about what you connect to your smart speaker, especially your security functions, such as door lock or surveillance camera. You don’t want a burglar to yell “Unlock the door!” and have your voice assistant oblige.

Also, you should disable the feature that links your calendar or address book. You’d be surprised at what valuable information hackers can get from these sources.

Strengthen your passwords

Protect the service account linked to your device with a strong password. Although it’s somewhat cumbersome, use two-factor authentication if possible. It’s worth the effort to prevent anyone who has access to the account from listening in remotely.

Turn off the microphone

Consider muting your device when you’re not using it. That’s the easiest way to get your device to stop listening. Of course, you’ll have to turn it back on next time you want to check the weather. John Wu, CEO of San Diego-based Gryphon, maker of a secure WiFi router told TechNewsWorld that some devices continue to record audio for 10 to 15 minutes after a task is completed, which is concerning for consumers.

Delete commands

Smart speakers allow you to listen to your past commands and to erase some or all of them. This is a good way to wipe any sensitive information that may be stored. You’re device is fast and can relearn deleted commands with ease.

Turn off purchasing

Smart speakers often can be set to make purchases on command. The scary thing is that anyone with access to the device may be able to make a purchase. The solution? Set up a purchase password and keep it a secret.

Stay on top of notification emails

Check notification emails regularly for purchase activity. If you’re notified about something you didn’t order — maybe it’s something suspiciously suited to your 12-year-old — you can cancel it.

Mind your network

Use a WPA2 encrypted Wi-Fi network and not an open hotspot at home. Create a guest Wi-Fi network for guests and unsecured IoT devices.

Turn off "personal results"

Your voice assistant may help you to pay bills and manage other personal information. That could expose information you’d rather keep private, such as passwords or bank account numbers. One option? Turn it off.

Enable voice recognition

If your device allows it, configure it to voice recognition. It can be helpful if your device can tell different voices apart, but be aware it may not always work.

The risk of smart speakers carry the risk of getting hacked increases everyday. But as with computers, if you take the proper security precautions with your digital voice assistant you’ll greatly minimize the possibility of being hacked.

If you're wondering what risks are inherent to smart speakers, check out Part 1 of this OZone series.


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