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Fraud Tips - Holiday Season

11/9/2018

With the approaching holiday season, many of you may find a smart speaker stuffing your stocking. While these devices have potential to change the way we interact with our technology, they also come with a fair share of security risks.
 
Although there is no guarantee of 100% data security, consider the following steps to make your smart speakers more secure:
 
 
1. Remove Sensitive Data Stored on Accounts Associated with the Speakers
 
To make things more convenient, many smart speakers allow you to store payment card information as part of the account you use for the smart speaker. Having your payment details stored, however, makes that info available to anyone with access to that particular account. Keep in mind also that, for Amazon Alexa to make voice-enabled purchases, you must store your payment card info for your Amazon account.
 
2. Train the Speaker to Recognize Different Voices
 
Due to instances of unauthorized people making purchases through Alexa via Amazon’s smart speakers, smart speaker companies have created the capability to train the smart speakers to recognize different voices. Take advantage of this feature to reduce the risk of unauthorized activities.
 
3. Regularly View and Delete Stored Voice Snippets
 
Some smart speaker providers allow you to see the material their smart speaker has recorded and stored over time. Get into the habit of reviewing the voice clips associated with your account. If you notice some that have details you want to be kept private, remove the clips by following the steps each brand offers.
 
4. Think Carefully Before Linking Accounts to Your Smart Speaker
 
Before connecting third-party services to your smart speaker, consider the possible ramifications that could result if a hacker compromises your smart speaker: the hacker then has some control over any and all connected services. You may find the risk too great for any convenience offered.
 
5. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Wherever Possible
 
Whether you decide to connect third-party services to your smart speaker or not, you should review each of your online accounts to determine if they offer multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires an additional piece of information when logging into your account, such as number sent via text message, in addition to your username and password. This makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to take over your account.
 
6. Manually Activate Your Speaker When You Use it Instead of Setting it to Always Listen
 
It may dampen the promised convenience of your smart speaker to have to activate it by pushing a button, but that precaution could ensure the device doesn’t record the things you say when you’re not aware of it. Although every smart speaker manufacturer works hard to assure the device only listens and responds when you want it to, there have been several reported instances that show the opposite.
 
All in all, smart speakers can be a great addition to a digitally-connected home but, as with all technology, there are risks to consider when deciding how connected you want them to be.
 

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