Working from home? Switch off Smart Speakers (say lawyers)

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With COVID-19 taking over the world, a lot of workplaces have chosen to offer their employees work from home option. While a few people are used to working from home on occasion, the global scenario gives an employee no chance but to force themselves to work from home.

One of the best perks of having to go to the office is the enclosed and safe environment it provides you with. People going to office have secure rooms where confidential matters can be discussed without the fear of being overheard. However, due to the new office setups from home, this may not be the case anymore. As safe as you might consider your home to be, there is not guaranteeing who could be snooping in on your conversations. For instance, smart speakers like Alexa.

UK law firm like Mishcon de Reya is already recommending its employees to mute or totally disable the smart speakers when taking confidential business calls or any client call. According to Joe Hancock, the partner leading the firm’s cybersecurity branch, “Perhaps we’re being slightly paranoid, but we need to have a lot of trust in these organizations and these devices. We’d rather not take those risks.”

Of course, what Hancock refers to when he says ‘devices’ are smart speakers. While there is no certainty that they will snoop in on every conversation you are having based on how confidential it is, it remains a very real threat. This is more fact than fiction, considering that there have been previous instances where these speakers have recorded conversations. In fact, there has been a research conducted along these very lines where it was revealed that Alexa activates itself at least 19 times a day. Of course, it is all done in order to create a better product for you.

Read – Researchers Hacked Siri, Alexa, and Google Home By Shining Lasers At them

However, none of the exceptions takes away from the threat and paranoia of having a confidential call recorded with no idea where it could surface. Of course, it is only smart to be safe and take necessary precautions than be sorry and not know how to remedy it. In short, for those of you working rom home handling confidential information, leave Alexa turned off for as long as you are having to work from home, or at least have the speaker sit outside the office room as you take your calls.

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