The world is running fast and so is the technology! Today, we initiate such incredible tasks robotically that were once nearly impossible. Yes, the technology has gone so far, even beyond the imagination of a common man. At present, we have some amazing and extraordinary artificial intelligence like Amazon Smart Drone, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Amazon Lex, Tesla’s Autopilot, Google Now, and, Microsoft’s Cortana and many more. However, with this rapid expansion of the technology and artificial intelligence, are we really secured?
Not far ago, we have seen a colossal Facebook security breach controversy that shook the world recently. It has not been so long and yet another security breach controversy hit the Amazon’s virtual assistant, Amazon Alexa. A woman from Portland, identified as Danielle, recently reported that Alexa recorded a private conversation using Amazon Echo Voice Recording feature and sent it to a random guy in her contact list. This news broke the internet and leads to too many Amazon Alexa security concerns such as ‘Does echo spy on you?’ or ‘Does echo dot record conversations?’ However, before you start panicking about whether Amazon spies on you, Amazon’s spokesperson, on Thursday, explained the whole episode.
While speaking about the Alexa recording conversations, Amazon’s representative clarified that Alexa mistakenly took conversations as commands and responded accordingly. He explained, “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request. At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”
Disable Amazon Echo Speaker
As you know, your Amazon Echo device is always on and listens to all your conversations, it just waits for you to trigger the wake word that puts life into it. Hence, one way to avoid such instance is to disable the Echo speaker that allows Alexa to make a call to any contact in your list. I know a lot of people like to make calls and send messages using the Alexa device, however, this is the safest way to protect your private conversation from being recorded.
Replace Your Wake Word
Since it is not clear that which words Alexa misinterprets, it’s still better you change the default wake word from “Alexa” to either “Amazon”, “Echo” or “Computer”. However, before replacing your default wake word, make sure that you do not use these words more often than Alexa.
Disable “Follow-Up Mode”
Amazon introduced a “Follow-Up Mode” to all its Alexa-enable devices lately, which enables you to make the follow-up requests without repeating the wake word. You should turn this feature off by navigating to the Alexa app > Menu > Alexa Devices > Select your device > Turn off Follow-Up Mode.
These solutions may help you avoid such awkward controversies of accidentally sending your personal messages and conversations to some random people in your contact list. However, we are still waiting for Amazon to come up with some proper solutions to address this issue.