Your smart devices are spying on you.
In a report by The Verge, Amazon has admitted that it holds on to the data received from Alexa, even if a user deletes all audio files.
This happened after the news of a woman from Oregon, who found out that Alexa recorded her conversation with her husband and sent it to a random person on their contact list.
Initially, she thought that she got hacked. But a statement, released by Amazon, unveiled that Alexa responded to a number of queries that prompted it to send a message to this person. This incident has shown that smart devices, although very helpful, are still flawless.
This brings us to our question.
How can a user protect their private data and still enjoy using smart devices?
Let’s take a look.
1. Securing Your Wi-Fi Network
Since your Wi-Fi controls your smart devices, it is the first thing to take care of, when it comes to protecting your private data.
An experiment by CNBC Canada, which involved a couple from Ontario and a team of hackers, has shown, how easy it is to hack into an unprotected Wi-Fi network. During the experiment, a team of hackers using a phishing email, hacked into the couple’s Wi-Fi network and gained control over their smart home system, thermostat, and security cameras.
Using unprotected Wi-Fi connection makes your private data vulnerable. We all know about it, but nevertheless, we rarely do anything about it. According to the research by Flatfy, an international real estate company, 68% of homeowners have at least one smart device at home, and yet don’t have a well-protected Wi-Fi connection.
The most common mistakes smart device owners make regarding Wi-Fi networks include:
- Not choosing a proper router name. Leaving a router name set by the manufacturer is a common mistake. However, some users name their routers using private information, such as name or address. This, however, clears the path for hackers to find your home easier, leaving your private data and smart devices vulnerable.
- Not having a guest network. The users of smart devices should protect their private data by having a separate Wi-Fi network for the guests to use. The guest Wi-Fi connection should also be protected by a unique password.
- Not using stronger encryption. Standard Wi-Fi routers use a WEP encryption protocol, which can be broken into using a hacking suite like Aircrack-ng. For better Wi-Fi protection, it is better to install the WPA encryption protocol that ensures the protection of private data.
Since smart devices are all interconnected using Wi-Fi, for your benefit and to protect your private data it is essential to invest in good Wi-Fi encryption.
Smart devices make our life easier, bringing along convenience and flexibility. However, we make one mistake when we become users of smart devices – we don’t read privacy policies.
The users of Amazon Alexa can switch off the access to the voice transcripts by:
- turning off the feature of using messages to improve transcriptions in the privacy settings
- switching off the ‘contribute to developing new features’ option
Since Alexa controls many other smart devices, it is essential to control how it uses your private data to prevent leaks.
3. Enable Remote Control
To increase the security of your private data, you can add one more device to control other smart devices, namely, a remote control.
There’s an abundance of smart remote devices that offer the following features:
- convenient control over home entertainment units and smart home devices
- allows a single-touch control
- compatibility with Alexa for hands-free control
In addition, smart remotes come with apps that you can download to control your smart devices remotely and check their performance. Smart remote apps also notify users if a smart device shows a suspicious activity, allowing you to immediately turn the device off and protect your private data from hackers.
Use Your Smart Devices Wisely
Lastly, it is important to point out that keeping your smart devices up-to-date also plays an important role in keeping your data private. Oftentimes, they contain updates to privacy policies that manufacturers add to fix any privacy-related issues that have occurred.
Protecting your private data in the wake of modern security threats is important. Although the manufacturers invest a lot of time and effort to ensure the security of smart devices, they don’t guarantee full protection. Hopefully, the above-mentioned tips will help you better understand what it takes to protect your private data and take important steps to increase security and continue enjoying using your smart devices.
Author’s Bio: Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist, you can check his website. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.
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