People Realize Just Three Ways Their Amazon Echo Devices Can Be Hacked
Smart home devices like the Amazon Echo can make your life easier, but they’re not immune to causing a problem or two.
Hackers are always on the lookout and are perfecting their techniques to break into smart devices.
Cybercriminals are known to create Alexa skills that hide malwareCredit: Alamy Smart bugging
Hackers can install malware on Amazon Echo devices which can be used to turn the gadget into a remote listening device.
This can then be used to pick up general activity in the house so they know when it’s empty.
In 2017, British hacker Mark Barnes revealed how hackers could stream audio from an Echo device using a soldered SD card.
Fortunately, this technique is not easy and cannot be performed remotely.
The hacker must have had access to the device to do this.
Shortly after Barnes alerted people to this hack, Amazon made it nearly impossible for others to do so as of 2017.
To better protect yourself, be sure to buy used Echo devices from trusted sources.
Check to see if the seller has sold items before and has good reviews.
Fake Alexa Skills
Avid Alexa users are very familiar with the various virtual voice assistant skills designed and offered by Amazon.
But users can actually download different skills from third-party developers.
Many of them can be useful and used to do things like add events to your Google calendar or even order pizza.
However, cybercriminals are known to create Alexa skills that hide malware.
In 2018, researchers from Indiana University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Virginia found that using accents and mispronunciations can also lead to inadvertent access to fake Alexa skills impersonating popular services.
For example, instead of saying “Alexa, install Capital One”, hackers can create an app called “Capital Won” which can be downloaded instead.
These may be used to collect personal information for resale to third parties.
The best way to avoid this is to check your Alexa skills frequently to make sure they are official apps.
However, it should be noted that Amazon has strict policies against this behavior.
All offending skills identified by Amazon are either blocked from certification or quickly disabled.
The third and last method is the one that should become widespread alongside the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
AI has become exceptionally good at voice cloning in recent months.
But hackers can use voice simulation tools to impersonate you, which means they can access all accounts connected to the device.
To protect yourself against this, it’s wise to never post videos of yourself speaking commands online.
But as the AI gets smarter, you should also consider limiting the amount of posts you post online in other clips.
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