Is Amazon Alexa Spying On You?
Concerns about smart devices spying on you are not new. Since the launch of Amazon Alexa, there have been some noted security and privacy concerns among its customers. As an example, people reported Amazon Alexa letting out random laughs, alarming unsuspecting users. Even more concerning, people are worried that the listening aspect of the device was spying on owners whenever it was turned on.
Smart speakers devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home might raise privacy concerns. Regardless, these futuristic devices are extremely popular due to their huge suite of features. For instance, you can command Amazon Alexa to play music, create a shopping list, order a taxi. It can also solve math problems or control other smart home devices. However, to get the most out of your smart speaker, be sure to take precautions to ensure your privacy is not compromised. In this article, we’ll guide you on securing your home network. We’ll also focus specifically on ensuring that your Amazon Alexa doesn’t compromise your home privacy.
Privacy dangers posed by Amazon Alexa
Amazon Alexa works by listening to commands, which may lead to these privacy concerns:
- Amazon Alexa’s microphones are always listening to everything you say around it unless it’s muted
- Amazon Alexa can’t tell the difference between multiple voices, meaning it can’t identify an exact owner
- Audio recordings are always uploaded to open cloud servers, risking cyber-attacks
- Amazon Alexa uses the home owner’s physical location to drive searches and advertisements, exposing your home address
- Amazon collects data from your Alexa recordings for subsequent analysis
- Amazon can share your personal data with third-parties without your knowledge
How to make your Amazon Alexa private
These practices won’t ensure complete safety of your home privacy, but they will help reduce the vulnerability Amazon Alexa can cause you.
- Always read the updated FAQs for Amazon Alexa to be aware of possible bugs, software updates, or tricks to solve common problems when using the device
- Make it a habit to delete your Alexa recording history. While this may compromise integration with your smart home devices, your home privacy should be a priority
- Remember to review the voice purchasing settings. You can also disable the voice purchasing option. This will save you from mistakenly purchasing goods or subscribing to services without your approval
- Activate the “end of request” tone that allows you to confirm that Amazon Alexa is not listening to a request anymore
- Always mute the device when you’re not using it or simply shut it down when not in use
- Remember to unlink other sensitive accounts from Amazon Alexa. This will protect you from attackers who might be using your Alexa device to get to your other accounts
How a VPN works with Amazon Alexa
The practices above will ensure you some amount of privacy for your Amazon Alexa. However, they won’t guarantee long-lasting security like a VPN can. A VPN adds an extra layer of security on your home network by encrypting your data. It also disguising your online identity by spoofing your IP address.
A VPN is a proxy server connected to your network via the internet. Good VPN services will keep your home network private and secure. VPNs protect you by redirecting your web traffic through a secure tunnel to a different server location away from your physical address. Therefore, it masks your identity and secures your personal information. This includes any data and information your Amazon Alexa logs and keeps.
Best VPN services for Amazon Alexa
ExpressVPN is our top pick for Amazon Alexa. With over 2000+ well-distributed servers in 148+ regions, it’s an incredibly accessible VPN. ExpressVPN employs AES 256-bit encryption technology to keep your data secure, and it keeps no logs. The VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction outside the reach of the invasive UK privacy laws. ExpressVPN has a number of privacy and security features including an automatic kill switch and IPv6 & DNS leak protection. The VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are unsatisfied with your subscription.
NordVPN is another of the best VPNs for Amazon Alexa. It’s a great choice for delivery over shorter hops and long-distance connections. It uses the AES 256-bit encryption to protect data sent and received on your home network. NordVPN also has an impressive 5000+ servers well distributed across 62+ countries globally. This makes it perfect for hiding your physical location from hacker and phishers. The VPN is based in Panama, a friendly jurisdiction in terms of privacy laws. Like other top VPNs, NordVPN has varied subscription packages and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost is a solid VPN that guarantees your anonymity, data encryption, and keeps zero logs of your home network activities. It has more than 3000 servers in over 60 countries around the globe. CyberGhost also uses the standard AES 256-bit encryption to protect data used on your Amazon Alexa device. The VPN offers various protocols to give you flexibility of usage. At the same time, it ensures that your online presence is kept safe and secure from online attackers. It has competitive and it offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
A VPN’s additional features
While a VPN is important for keeping your Amazon Alexa data private, that’s not all it can do. VPNs have become crucial online privacy and security tools. As cybercrime and ISP/ government surveillance have increased, a VPN is more relevant now than ever before.
By connecting to a VPN server, you block your ISP from seeing what you are doing when connected to the internet. Thus, an ISP can’t profile you or send you a DMCA notice whenever you stream content that they deem questionable. A VPN also prevents an ISP from throttling your internet connection when you use data-intensive services like streaming HD videos or torrenting. Finally, a VPN can protect you from cyber criminal threats such as hacking when you’re using public wifi.
Amazon Alexa is practical, but it can come with a high risk of privacy compromises. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to make your smart speaker private. There are several options available for securing your Amazon Alexa. But a VPN is your best tool for encrypting your traffic and protecting your data.