Smart home devices could pose major security risks

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Voice-activated home assistants such as Amazon Echo or Google Home have become a popular sight in homes, but do they also pose a security risk?

In September news broke out that Amazon had sold more than 15 million devices, while Google Home had sold 5 million. With other players in the game, like Microsoft's Cortana being part of many third-party devices, and Apple getting ready to join in on the action, it's easy to see a new trend emerging.

Symantec has new advice detailing what consumers should know before letting such a device into their home, listening to private conversations.

In a blog post, Symantec says users should be extra careful about which accounts are connected to the assistant. The company even suggests creating a separate account if you don't plan on using the calendar, or the address book.

It also stresses that “personal results” in Google Home can be disabled, and that a purchase password can be set up, as well.

The next advice is to erase sensitive recordings from time to time, “although this may degrade the quality of the service as it may hamper the device in “learning” how you speak.”

And finally, protect the service account linked to the device with a strong password and 2FA, where, use WPA2 encrypted WiFi network, or even create a guest WiFi network for guests and unsecured IoT devices.

If correctly set up and managed, these devices can be great. Otherwise they can be a huge risk to privacy and security.

You can read Symantec’s full blog post here.

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