Smart home devices can provide unprecedented utility in our homes. The ability to speak to your device and have it perform whatever you need it to play seems like Science Fiction written 40 years ago about 2050. Taking a step back and looking at the technical innovation that goes into such a device makes us appreciate how far we have come.
However, with great innovation comes a great threat. With your smart home device now linked to the entire household, it is easier than ever for someone to gain access into your private life. There are specific security measures that you can take, and we will guide you on how to secure Alexa, ensure Google assistant privacy, and make sure your home is where the heart is.
How to secure Alexa
Alexa is an application that can be used with Echo and a wealth of other products. When a device becomes so integral to your life, it is not that difficult to see how someone else gaining access to it can be very dangerous for you. We will give you a few tips on how you can secure Alexa and enjoy a worry-free experience.
Since the primary way through which your smart home devices can be liable to security issues is through the internet, it is essential to have a secure network before you look at anything else. The first thing you should do is have a personalized Wi-Fi password and enable the WPA2 protocol on your network. You can also use different routers for your everyday use and Alexa.
Also, it is best to have your internet traffic encrypted and passing through a secure server. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can do this for you, and you can use PrivateVPN as it can offer you the protection that you need.
Protect your Amazon account
Anyone who manages to gain access to your Amazon account will be able to listen to your entire recorded history. For that reason, you need to make sure that your Amazon password cannot be guessed and is not known to anyone except you.
On top of it, it is crucial to have Anti-Spyware software on your computer as people can gain access to your accounts through various techniques such as cookie injection and keyloggers. Take a look at McAfee Security Systems, as they are one of the foremost anti-virus providers in the world.
Manage your recordings
There are numerous physical security measures that you can take to protect your private data from anyone who might want to listen in. The first one is to turn your microphone off whenever you are not using it. This way, Alexa will not be able to record anything you say until you manually turn on your microphone.
Another thing that you can do is to change the word that enables recording on your smart home device. Try to pick a word that you are not going to use in your regular conversation so that you do not accidentally record sensitive information.
Lastly, it is always a good practice to delete all of your older recordings which you have no use for. In case someone can tap into your recordings one way or the other, you can minimize the damage by having as little information stored as you need.
Google Assistant privacy concerns
Google Assistant opens you up to even more security threats as it is available in the palm of your hand as well as your smart home device. Being able to protect your privacy on Google Assistant is much harder, but not impossible. We will take you through certain measures that will make sure that you can use Google Assistant with no concerns regarding security.
Public Wi-Fi networks are the plague
What you may not know when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network is how easy it is for someone to gain access into your phone. Since you can use the Google Assistant with your smartphone, it is imperative that you only connect to networks that you completely trust. Take a look at how a public Wi-Fi network was configured to mine crypto-currency in every computer that connected to it.
One advantage of using Google Assistant is that Google is renowned for its security and it is challenging for someone to hack into your smart home device unless you make a mistake. You can soothe a lot of Google Assistant Privacy concerns by having 2-step verification on your Google account. 2-step verification can have a code sent to your phone whenever you log-in to make sure that an intruder is unable to gain access to your account.
Choose what you share
You do not have to share all of your activity with your Assistant. If you feel like you have sensitive data that you are not comfortable having an online presence, you can decide exactly how much your smart home device should know. Google themselves have a very informative article on restricting data from Google Assistant that you can take a look at.
General Tips and Tricks
Before we end, we thought to take you through some basic tips and tricks which apply to all smart home devices. There are many devices which can be attached to your smart home device, and they may open you up to additional security risks that you do not know of.
For example, you should try to upgrade old hardware such as security cameras as the previous versions might be easily penetrable. At the very least, turn off some of the features that you do not need such as Remote Access, as they pose the greatest security risks.
Additionally, you should make sure that all home security devices (e.g., alarms, cameras) have their very own Wi-Fi network and all of your guests use another network. Try to have strong passwords as well as encryption on the network that is used for your security devices as an extra layer of security. Lastly, make sure to install all firmware updates for your security devices, smart home device, and your smartphone.