Voice activated, smart home assistants are predicted to be high on holiday gift lists this year. According to Infoscout, “2016 will be the Year of Voice for holiday shoppers, as products like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others in the ‘smart speaker’ category gain awareness and rapid adoption.”
As with any new tech device you bring home, you want to be sure you make the device as secure as possible. While both the Amazon Echo and Google Home have built-in security (including encryption), Paul Bischoff at Comparitech.com offers some great advice on how to further secure Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Paul points out some potential security concerns with voice-activated assistants:
- Unless physically muted, the microphones are always listening.
- The voice assistants cannot differentiate between different voices.
- Voice recordings are uploaded and stored on cloud server.
- Data is collected from recordings and subsequent analyses to provide a more tailored experience, and—in all likelihood—more tailored advertising.
- The user’s location is used to give more accurate searches, and—again—better targeted advertisements.
- Your data may be shared with third-parties, unbeknownst to you.
He also offers excellent tips for making Amazon Echo and Google Home more secure.
For the Amazon Echo:
- Hit the Mute button on top of the device, when it’s not in use. This will turn off the “always listening” feature, so it cannot be activated until you physically unmute it.
- Delete old recordings. You can use a web-based dashboard on Amazon’s “Manage my device” page to wipe your history clean or just delete individual queries.
- Don’t link important accounts to your Echo.
Some of his advice for Google Home:
- Delete your conversation history and block certain types of information, such as your location, from being shared with Google.
- Pay attention to the LED lights that indicate when Google Home is listening. Sometimes it will be triggered by accident, possibly at an inopportune time.
Read Bischoff’s post in its entirety.