Are you
prompting Siri, Google, or Alexa? When you talk a home assistant, you join a
growing number of smart homes.

Smart home
assistants search online, start phone calls, order groceries, play music, turn
lights on. All with a single spoken command.

Research into
how people use Google or Alexa demonstrates the core features. Listening to
music ranked first. Checking weather and asking for general information rounded
out the top three. Setting timers and reminders, asking for the news or jokes
(perhaps to make up for the news?) are also common.  

Yet, the
question remains, just how safe are these virtual assistants? After all, having
a smart speaker in your home means there is always an open microphone in your

Smart Speaker and Home Assistant Safety Concerns

convenience of the speaker demands that it always be on, ready and waiting for
you to say “Hey Siri” or “OK Google.” Once triggered the device records the
command, sends the data to servers for processing, and figures out its

Smart speaker
users can log in to view the history of queries on their accounts. This prompts
some concerns that these mega-companies will use the information for financial
gain. For example, those talking about an overseas holiday might start seeing
related ads on their computers.

hacking into the home assistant to gain access to your personal information is
another concern. Those who set smart speakers as a hub for many devices also
create more points of vulnerability.

It’s difficult
to anticipate all the ways the assistant could prove too good a listener. In
one case, a voice assistant recorded a private conversation and sent it to the
couple’s contacts list.

Steps to Stay Secure with a Smart Speaker

That candid
conversation share aside, few big privacy flubs or personal data breaches have
been reported. Nevertheless, if taking advantage of Alexa, Siri, or Google
helper, keep these strategies in mind.

1. Clear your history. Don’t leave
everything you’ve ever asked it stored on the company server. The assistant
will relearn your commands quickly.

2. Connect with caution. It’s great to be able
to turn on the TV and dim the lights without leaving the comfort of your sofa.
Be wary of connecting security or surveillance devices to your home assistant.

3. Mute the microphone. Yes, it undermines
your ability to call from the closet “OK, Google, what’s the weather like
today?” But, turning off the mic when it’s not in use stops recording without
you knowing about it.

4. Secure your network. Home assistants do
their work by connecting to the Internet using your network. Ensure they are
accessing a password protected network. They should use devices (e.g. modems)
changed from default password settings.

With a little
effort you can gain convenience without worry. 

Want more questions answered about setting up a smart
speaker to be safe and reliable? We’re here to help. Give us a call on 0808 178

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