August 03, 2017
The importance of security is high in the times like now. Our smart homes have so many devices, that even one of them tapped in a wrong way can be a potential threat to you. This comes especially true when it was discovered that hackers can turn your Amazon Echo into a microphone. This means that the person sitting at the other end can listen to everything you say at home.
It was discovered that with a detailed technique any hacker could install a malware on an Amazon Echo. This would come along with a proof-of-concept code that would enable the hacker to silently stream audio to his secret server.
The research was conducted by Mark Barnes and was posted in a blog post. He believes that the pre-2017 Echoes are more vulnerable. The new Echoes would require physical access to the device to attack it. The 2017 model has an internally changed hardware. This prevents important operations that are crucial for hacking.
Amazon is indeed worried about the potential threats its users may face due its device. “Customer trust is very important to us. To help ensure the latest safeguards are in place, as a general rule, we recommend customers purchase Amazon devices from Amazon or a trusted retailer and that they keep their software up-to-date,” Amazon said in a statement.
Barnes agrees that his work is a warning for all those who intend to buy Echo from someone other than an Amazon retailer. For instance, buying an Echo device from a second-hand dealer could have potential threat to those who are going to use it. In any case, this only proves that smart home devices also require exceptionally smart security.