Amazon has sold over 100 million Alexa smart home speakers. Users love their diverse range of features from ordering something on Amazon to setting important reminders, and much more. While Alexa is incredible, many people do have privacy concerns about the smart speaker. Is Alexa always listening and/or watching? Are advertisers harvesting your data for advertising? Can someone hack Alexa? Should I have VPN for certain occasions? The short answer to all of these is yes. Don’t worry; you don’t need to cover your device with a paper bag when not in use, just follow these precautions, and you’ll be secure.
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1) Delete Voice Recordings Daily
By default, Amazon stores your voice recordings until you say otherwise. Now, however, Amazon has enabled a new feature allowing you to delete all recordings from a particular time. All you have to do is say “Alexa, delete what I said today.” Do this once every day before bed. You can go even further by going into your settings to delete all of your voice history.
2) Turn Off Camera/Microphone When Not in Use
Hackers target any device connected to the internet—especially cameras and microphones as they have lower levels of security. If you don’t plan to use your device, press the microphone off button and Alexa will stop listening. Likewise, you can turn off the camera by saying, “turn the camera off” or in the device options under settings.
3) Strengthen Your Amazon Password For Alexa Security
Many people forget that their Alexa device is tied to their Amazon account. Anybody who has your Amazon password can access your recordings, make purchases, stream content, and more. Use a strong, unique password to make sure your account is secure. You can go even further by using a password manager across all your online accounts to further bolster your internet safety.
4) Improve Home Network Security
Alexa utilizes your home WiFi connection. Just like your Amazon account, you also need a strong WiFi password to prevent users from guessing your password. You can also add two-factor authentication and automatic password changes to make sure you always know who’s using your network.
5) Increase Internet Security
After protecting your home network connection, you need to secure your internet connection. Hackers use information like IP addresses to gain access to computers and devices like Alexa. With a VPN, you anonymize and encrypt your network connection with the latest security technology. You can apply a VPN directly to your router to protect all devices connected to your home network (you can download one here).
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6) Use a Pin for Voice Purchases
Voice purchases are extremely convenient. You can say “Alexa, order three packages of Barilla pasta” and have it delivered right to your door. For obvious reasons, you don’t want this feature to fall in the wrong hands. Go to your settings and enable purchase codes for voice purchases. It will only take a few extra seconds but provide you with much more security.
7) Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Reading Amazon’s privacy settings are nobody’s idea of a good time. But take a few minutes to scan through them so you understand what data Amazon collects, where it goes, and what types of options you have. From here, tweak your privacy settings accordingly. Each device has specific settings. For example, Echo Look has a feature that submits photos to Amazon for style suggestions. If that’s a little too creepy for your taste, then disable it.
8) Clear Your Data Once in a While
Just like you clear out voice recordings, you should do the same for the rest of your data. Occasionally go into the settings to clear out cached data. Do this also on your other devices, internet browsers, and anything else. It’s a good opportunity to reset. As a bonus, you’ll be able to get new suggestions for things more relevant to your life now.
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Keeping Your Amazon Alexa Secure
Amazon Alexa devices are incredible. From the Echo Buttons to the Echo Show, users can take advantage of this incredible technology on any budget. However, it’s also essential for people to take security precautions. Clear out your voice recordings and data periodically. Secure your network connections with strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and a VPN. Finally, make sure your privacy settings match your needs. By doing this, you’ll have the great features of Alexa while maintaining your privacy and security.