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Alexa, Are you Listening To Me?

Alexa, What Are You Collecting?

At the top of many holiday gift lists was a smart speaker device.  They can make our life easier and more convenient with integration across all of our devices, taking efficiency to the next level.  And it is likely we’ve all made a new friend in Alexa in the past year.  Whether we brought them into our own home or met while visiting friends, it is likely our paths have crossed with a device that is now part of one’s household.  In fact, we can even call them by name.

While the technology has come far since the first introduction a few years ago, there is still reason to be cautious when using these devices.  First, not everyone has the latest version in their home.  That includes hardware and software.  Unfortunately, we don’t all do the patch update, and this can mean that even if a device does offer the latest version, it isn’t always downloaded and being used with the latest security offering.

Second to this is the fact that if you are speaking to a unit and waiting on a response, that data is likely being collected, and it is definitely being monitored.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t work at all.  And even if you aren’t talking to it directly at any given moment, it is on, listening, and waiting to respond – which means that whatever you are saying is being heard somewhere, by someone.

Should I Be Worried?

Despite the obvious issues that may be presented from allowing these listening devices in our homes, sales continue to rise.  Many consumers believe that they don’t have anything relevant to steal or worth sharing, but as with any data, it is all valuable.

We must, however, do our best to ensure that all action is taken to make them as secure as possible.

How to delete what Alexa has recorded.

Firstly Log in to the Alexa App and ensure that voice deletion is enabled

  • Hamburger menu (3 lines at top left)
  • Settings > Alexa Privacy>> Review Voice History>Enable Deletion By Voice
  • Once enabled simply say “Alexa delete what I’ve said today”. (do this before going to bed).

Alternatively, log into the Alexa app.  Here you can delete all of your voice history.

  • Settings > Alexa Privacy>> Review Voice History> and delete all voice history.

Are you worried that Alexa is listening to everything you say?

The simplest way to stop Alexa from listening to you is to turn off the microphone.

  • Press the Microphone button at the top of the device and Alexa will stop listening.

Alexa keeps waking and recording when you don’t want it too.

Sometimes changing your Wake Word will help, especially if you have someone in your house with a similar sounding name, “Alex” for example. Alexia will be forever recording your conversations.

  • To change your Wake Word simply say “Alexa, change the wake word”
  • Using the Alexa App goto Devices> Select your device name then scroll down to Wake Word and change it there.

Remember, Alexa will only start recording when it hears it’s Wake Up Word.

But I don’t want Amazon storing my conversations..

If you want to ensure that Amazon doesn’t use or store any of your transcripts

  • Go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data > toggle off the setting that says Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services.

 

 

Based in Kent since 2005 and with extensive experience of Cloud Computing, IT Security and Cyber Security. Computer Rescue offers fast response IT Support for  Small and Medium-sized businesses with between 5 and 100 users. Please click here to find out about our FREE Cyber Security Assessment