If you’ve recently purchased an Amazon Alexa for yourself, or are considering giving it as a gift this holiday season, you may want to reconsider. Over the past year, there have been many instances of disruptive behavior exhibited by Amazon’s smart speaker. Some examples include; Alexa telling one of it’s users to quote, “kill your foster parents.” Along with that time Alexa described various sexual acts to one of its customers. While these instances are certainly rare, are they still worth the risk? Especially if you have young children around, it might not be.
Privacy Concerns Over Amazon’s Alexa
While disruptive behavior is one thing, there are other legitimate concerns when it comes to privacy. For instance, its a well known fact that Amazon records conversations held with Alexa. And while the company claims they only use these recording to create a better product, there’s not much stopping them from using these conversations to target you with more ads. In fact, several researchers believe Amazon may already be doing this.
The Spy App In Your Home
But perhaps the worst situation of all came to light today. While we already knew there was a security loophole that allowed hackers to monitor someone’s conversations through their Alexa. It so far had not been reproduced in the wild. And while that exact situation did not happen, one Alexa customer was able to retrieve the audio logs of another customer. A German magazine reported today that an Amazon user (who was not named) exercised his General Data Protection rights by requesting the audio logs recorded by his Alexa device. Instead of receiving his own audio logs however, the man received 1,700 logs from another Amazon user. While this is not the same security breach demonstrated by the white-hat hackers, it still is a cause for concern. Especially if Amazon can’t figure out how the mixup occurred in the first place.
If there was any doubt that the Amazon Alexa could be used to spy on someone else, that doubt is now certainly gone. So you may want to hold off on purchasing an Alexa, at least until Amazon improves their security measures.