Voice assistants are peak convenience in the digital age. Turn up the heat? Yup. Turn down the music? Got you. Record a private conversation and send it to my contacts? Uh. Yeah, that did happen.
As handy as it is to have a Google Home or Amazon Echo in the kitchen, they do pose a bit of a security threat to digital life. The more we connect to them, to greater the vulnerabilities. Here are a few precautions you should take.
- Don’t connect everything everything. Your lights, thermostat and Spotify account are fine, but a door lock or surveillance camera activated by voice is asking for trouble.
- Wipe their memory. Smart speakers learn common commands, so you should regularly listen to past commands and erase them in case there’s sensitive info stored.
- Mute your device. Just turning off the microphone stops it from listening in on conversations when it’s not in use.
- Password protect purchases. Smart speakers can buy you stuff – so use a secret purchase password.
- Turn off personal results. If you use a voice assistant to pay your bills, you could be exposing your passwords and bank account numbers. Switch off this feature to be safe.
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