6 Alexa Security Features To Use When You Walk Out The Door
As our devices get smarter, so do the ways we use them in our everyday lives. Sure, devices like the Amazon Alexa can help make everyday tasks more convenient, but that only scratches the surface. The same device you use to make plans for the weekend can help guard your home when you leave for those plans, too, thanks to Alexa's security features.
Though Alexa can implement small security measures around your home, it's important to remember that like all technology, it has its faults. In November 2019, researchers found that a quirky laser pointer trick could allow people to hack voice-activated smart devices — and, to be clear, this doesn't just apply to Alexa. It could also happen to smartphones and other smart speakers and home assistants. That's because some of these devices actually register high frequency lights as sounds, potentially giving someone the ability to open your garage or even make online purchases.
In response to the research, an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement, “Customer trust is our top priority and we take customer security and the security of our products seriously. We are reviewing this research and continue to engage with the authors to understand more about their work.”
All this being said, researchers mentioned that as long as you keep your Amazon Echo products out of sight from anyone outside, you should be in good standing. And if you want to use Alexa's features to give yourself a little more peace of mind when you leave your house or apartment, here are six hacks:
1. Use Away Lighting
According to ADT, an American security services corporation, a smart method to protect yourself against potential burglaries is to not just keep your lights on when you're not home, but to simulate someone being home by turning lights on and off as someone would throughout their home. You can do this using Alexa's Away Lighting. This feature on Alexa's Guard settings lets you switch lights in your home on and off through an app to make it seem like someone is home.
2. Get Smart Alerts
If there are any suspicious sounds — smoke alarms or glass breaking — that happen in your home, your Alexa can notify you of them. Whenever your Alexa detects one of these sounds, you'll immediately receive Smart Alerts directly to the Alexa app on your phone, where you can play the sound back to yourself to see if it's something worth being concerned about. If it is, you can immediately contact the authorities to check it out.
3. Connect Your Smart Alerts To ADT
Instead of having to worry or contact authorities every time you get a Smart Alert, you can integrate your Alexa Guard system with ADT. This way, the security company will automatically investigate any time Alexa thinks it heard a smoke alarm or glass breaking. You can feel safer knowing that you're not the only one being notified of any suspicious activity or sounds happening in your home.
4. Use Drop In
You can use Alexa's Drop In feature to check up on different rooms in your home, the same way you would using a baby monitor. If you put several Alexa products in different rooms of your home, the Drop In feature acts like an intercom system that lets you listen in to different rooms. Whether you use the feature as a checking-in precaution or you use it immediately following a concerning Smart Alert, you can investigate what's going on in your home even when you're miles away.
5. Use Ring To Keep An Eye On Your Home
Alexa's Ring Skill, paired with a Ring camera, lets you see any place in your home where you set up a camera, including right outside your front door. You can drop into videos in real time or even see footage from cameras around your house. Just say things like "Alexa, show me the front door" or "Alexa, show the most recent event from the back door" and you'll be able to feel secure knowing you're aware of your home's surroundings at all times.
6. Use Pin Protection For Purchases
To avoid any potential mishaps between your Alexa device and someone with a laser, you can set a pin code on your Voice Purchasing to make sure only people with the pin can use your card to make purchases. You do this by going into the Settings on your Alexa App and hitting Set Pin under Voice Purchasing. You'll still be able to buy things with your voice, you'll just have to remember your pin.