At the moment, one of the hottest markets in the tech world is that of smart home speakers, and industry giants Google and Amazon are leading the market with their two smart home speakers called Google Home and Amazon Echo. People are going crazy about these products and everyone is looking to get one, and there is already a rivalry between consumers, as they have taken sides to defend their favorite brand.
As Cyber Monday and Black Friday are drawing near, it’s only expected that there will be thousands of customers ready to buy one of their own smart speakers, as well as during the whole holiday season. Although these systems offer many new features and amazing benefits, they are IoT devices and this means that security should be taken very seriously.
While these products make life a lot easier, they are also a threat to online security and privacy. The wide range of actions you can do with these speakers means that a hacker can breach your security and cause a lot of damage if successful.
One of the first essential steps every owner of a smart speaker system needs to take to ensure security is to always update it to the latest release. If you have your device connected to the internet at all times you will always get the latest update.
Still, as a precautionary measure make sure to check for updates from time to time or when you’ve experienced internet disruptions. Bear in mind that these are fairly new products that still might have potential vulnerabilities.
This is why their manufacturers will release frequent updates that apply security patches whenever a vulnerability is discovered. This is especially vital for these products, as they have a lot of functionalities, all of which might be targeted by hackers.
One of the conveniences of these tech items is the fact that they are always alert and listening to you. This means that you can address them whenever you want and perform different actions. However, this convenience is also a liability, as they will listen to everything you say in the privacy of your home and all the intimate conversations that you are having.
It’s basically the same as having a microphone turned on in your home at all times. Although it is fun and convenient for users to ask for music, news, weather forecast or any other information, there are potential dangers when talking about personal and private things such as money, legal issues, medical issues and so on.
All of the data of recording is sent to the servers of Google and Amazon, and even though this data is protected, it is still located in the cloud and can be potentially hijacked by hackers. There are two ways to protect yourself from this liability.
The first one is to mute your device whenever you are talking about something private. This could prove to be a nuisance and ruin the user experience for these items, but it’s the easiest way to be completely safe around it. The other way is extreme and it requires users to avoid talking about private things that they wouldn’t in public.
In a recent turn of events, the public has learned that both Amazon and Google had issues with their smart home speakers, with their Bluetooth to be more precise, as they discovered many flaws across many devices. These flaws and related incidents are known in the public as BlueBorn, and it includes eight flaws that have affected billions of computers and phones that were using Linux, Windows, Android and iOS.
These flaws were revealed by a security vendor that has warned that these same flaws in Echo and Home could be potential entry points for hackers, so that they can attack any other devices within a user’s home with malware. A hacker needs to be within Bluetooth range and rely on the flaws to attack other devices that have enabled Bluetooth, without even having to pair them.
Amazon has given an update to around 15 million Echo users, while Google patched around 5 million Home devices after the incident occurred. However, all of the integrated devices and corporations that use these systems in their network are at risk because of these flaws. Supposedly the issue was fixed with latest security patches.
Although these devices are popular, it is important to be aware of these security issues before buying one. Make sure that you take all the steps you can to secure yourself from any breaches when acquiring either Google Home or Amazon Echo.