Don’t panic – but check your Alexa settings, warns Aura Technology in wake of claims that smart device sent private conversation

Amazon Echo with Alexa voice control

Technology services provider Aura Technology today recommended that users of Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker check their settings following reports that a device in America sent details of a couple’s private conversation over the internet.

Aura, which provides managed services and cybersecurity expertise to businesses across the South, said individuals and companies which use Alexa shouldn’t panic in the wake of the reports that an Alexa device in Oregon, USA, sent the couple’s chat about hardwood floors to a random person in their contact list.

Tim Walker, Managing Director of Aura, said: “This case appears to have been caused by a convoluted and difficult to replicate series of events, and while Amazon are right to review it and learn from the experience, there is no need for users to be unduly worried.

“This is, however, a good opportunity to recommend that users their review basic security settings, as is good practice with any networked device.”

Aura Technology recommends that users of Alexa and other smart devices carry out the following checks:

  • Ensure your home network is secured. Change default passwords on your router and install firmware updates – contact your internet service provider if you are unsure how to do this.
  • Change the “wake word” that activates recording on your smart device if you are finding that it is often triggered unintentionally
  • Turn the volume up on the device so you can hear the audible alert that sounds when it is “listening”
  • Always use a strong password for your account
  • Purge old recordings from your device if you think they may contain sensitive information – in the Alexa app, this can be found in Settings > History

Tim added: “Devices such as Alexa have huge benefits for businesses and for individuals, and as they become smarter and more powerful, we will see them in widespread and everyday use in an increasingly connected world.

“Taking sensible security precautions will ensure that companies and individuals can enjoy these benefits without having to worry about sensitive information being compromised.”

Aura, based in Southampton and London, is backed by a team of technology professionals with decades of experience. The company works closely with businesses at a senior level to make sure their IT provision is aligned to their business plans and goals.

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