Are Smart Assistants At Risk Of “Audio Hacking”?

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Computer scientists say that the profusion of voice-activated devices, such as Amazon Alexa, means that we may soon be at risk of “audio hacking”. David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab commented below.

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab:

“People need to find a compromise where they feel comfortable between achieving security and enjoying the convenience of these gadgets – and as new functions are added to smart home devices, we need to be aware of the security issues that these present. Should UK Alexa devices adopt the ability to transfer money to another person following a verbal command, this could perhaps lead to criminals intercepting this information and using it to scam money from the device owner. Consumers need to be generally aware of the smart devices that they use in the home and how they operate – as Alexa communicates via a home Wi-Fi network, owners need to ensure that their network is fully secure, otherwise it could potentially become compromised.

My advice would be:

  • Turn off the microphone.
  • Use the device settings to prohibit, or password protect, purchasing.
  • Protect your devices, to reduce the risk of data leakage.
  • Change the wake word if someone in the household has a name that’s similar to ‘Alexa’.”
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