Do you have a voice assistant in your home? If so, you already know about the convenience these devices can give both you and your family. Whether its an Amazon Alexa in your living room, or a Google Assistant in your kitchen, these devices are great for helping you multitask. And if you happen to have the Google Assistant, it can do two things at once as well. On the other hand, if you purchased an Alexa instead, you can take advantage of the more than 20,000 “skills” available. For example, fans of the game Destiny 2 can use an Alexa skill to equip their favorite loadout or call for backup, all without having to pick up a controller. You can even purchase your very own Ghost (the AI companion that helps guide you through the game) which connects to your Alexa, giving you the most immersive gaming experience possible.
As with any device that’s connected to the Internet, security is of paramount concern. Voice assistants are no exception, which is why you must take the necessary steps in order to secure them. Aside from having access to personal information, voice assistants can also be used to make online purchases. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent unauthorized access to your information.
Voice Assistant Vulnerabilities
Not taking into account the more technical security issues, such as WiFi exploits that could compromise your devices, there are other ways for someone to gain access to your Alexa or Google Assistant. The simplest one? Imitating the owner’s voice. A key feature of voice assistants is their ability to differentiate one person’s voice from another. This allows the device to store personal settings (such as account information) for each individual user. The problem with this? It’s pretty easy to fool the voice recognition software.
To be fair, if someone was trying to access your personal profile they would still have to be close enough to your device to activate it. That being said, if you’re someone who lives with a few roommates, your device may be at risk. Luckily, there are ways you can protect yourself.
Securing Your Google Home Or Alexa
The absolute best way to secure either of devices would be to completely disable the voice recognition tool. That way you won’t have to worry about someone getting into your own personal profile. For most users though, this defeats the purpose of having a voice assistant in the first place. Instead, try adding a voice activated pin number to your personal account, That way, anytime your Google Assistant or Alexa is prompted to make a purchase, the 4-digit pin number would have to be spoken first. While this is somewhat inconvenient, it does end up giving you the best of both words. You will still be able to make purchases via voice command, but you’ll also have the security you need to protect your personal information.