How to secure your Alexa device

Alexa, protect my privacy. Here's how to make your Echo more secure

While having an Alexa device is fun, and it makes life a lot easier when you can operate your smart gadgets without getting up off the couch, many people have privacy concerns about their Echo devices. Is Alexa always listening? Are Alexa smart displays always watching? Can someone hack my device? Is someone using my data for advertising or other purposes? These are only a few of the many questions that arise when it comes to Alexa privacy and security.

These are valid concerns, as Alexa devices are internet-connected gadgets with microphones that record what you say, and some even have cameras. To help ease your mind, you can take some precautions to help secure your Alexa device. We’ve included some tips on how to secure your Echo below.

Delete your Alexa voice recordings every day

amazon easter deals echo dot ring videodoorbells fire tablets  3rd gen 750x500

On the same day Amazon unveiled the Echo Show 5, it also announced a new privacy feature that allows customers to delete all of their recordings from their Alexa device for a specific day.

If you simply say, “Alexa, delete what I said today,” your Alexa-enabled device will delete your daily voice recordings. If you perform this action at night before you go to bed, you can keep your Alexa recordings cleared out.

Delete your Alexa voice recordings history

Even if you go through and delete you recordings each night, you may still have an archive of past recordings (prior to when you started deleting them daily).

To delete your archive, go into the Alexa app and select Settings > Alexa Account > History, and then go through and delete all of your past recordings.

Turn off your microphone and camera when you’re not using the device

Amazon Echo Spot Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Some users worry about a random creep hacking into their Echo and listening in on them, or even worse, they worry someone may be watching them through an Echo device that has a camera. You can minimize this risk by turning off your microphone if you don’t plan on using your Echo. Simply press the microphone on/off button located on top of the device, and Alexa will stop listening.

You can turn off the camera on Alexa devices like the Echo Spot by either using your voice (say, “Alexa, turn camera off”), or you can go to Settings > Device Options > and then turn off the Enable Camera option.

Be mindful of where you place your Alexa devices

amazon deals echo ring security fire and kindle  2nd generation 2

Avoid placing your Echo near a window or in a location that’s easily accessible from outside your home. In addition to reducing the risk of someone accessing your Echo from outside, this also reduces the risk of people outside of your home listening to your calls and other Alexa interactions.

Change your wake word

best deals alexa google home amazon walmart echo 2nd gen

Change your wake word to a word you seldom (if ever) use in conversation. Also, make sure your wake word doesn’t sound too similar to other words you frequently use in conversation. This way, if you have a friend named “Alexis,” Alexa doesn’t start recording your conversations when you say your friend’s name.

To change your wake word you can simply say, “Alexa, change the wake word,” or you can go to the Alexa App and go to Devices > select your device > select Wake Word > select a new wake word from the list > then select OK.

Use a strong Amazon Password

what is prime now amazon app smartphone shopping purchase program

Sometimes, people forget that their Alexa devices are secured and protected by their Amazon password. If someone has your Amazon password, they have access to your Alexa recordings, your smart devices like security systems and cameras, your daily routine, the ability to make purchases, and much more.

Digital Trend’s own Trevor Mogg recently reported on a study by the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) that looked at public databases of breached accounts and found that 23.2 million accounts globally used the password “123456.” If you’re using a weak password, or if you’re using the same password for multiple accounts, you may want to think about increasing your password security.

Increase your Network Security

amazon shrinks prices on netgear dual band and tri wi fi routers for today nighthawk ac1900 wifi router

A secure home network is key to securing your Alexa devices and smart home devices as well. This means, having a strong network password, avoiding using default passwords, avoiding giving your password to friends and neighbors (use a “guest” network instead), and using two-factor authentication when possible. You can read more about how to secure your Wi-Fi network here.

Set up a pin for voice purchases

what is prime pantry amazon day packages 3

One concern a lot of people had with Alexa devices was that kids would accidentally purchase thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, and that we’d all go broke and have piles of Amazon boxes in our living rooms.

While you must have voice purchases ‘enabled’ and you must have a one-click payment method set up to make those voice purchases, it’s still a good idea to take extra precaution and add a purchase code. This requires the purchaser to say a four-digit confirmation code before making any voice purchase. To set up the code go to the Alexa app, and go to Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchases. When you enable voice purchases, it will give you the option to set up your purchase code.

Read Privacy Policies and Adjust your privacy settings

how to stop amazon from listening your alexa recordings privacy menu

Amazon publishes info on its security practices, terms of use, and privacy policies. Review this information so you thoroughly understand Alexa privacy and security, and what type of concerns you should have.

In the Alexa app under Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy, you can adjust your privacy settings. For instance, you can review your smart alert history, manage which info is sent to Amazon about your smart home devices, and manage your skills permissions (which is kind of like managing app permissions on your phone). Specific Alexa devices have additional privacy settings. For instance, the Echo Look lets you choose whether or not you want your photos to be submitted for style suggestions.

Don’t create and share skills that contain your personal information

how to build your own alexa skills blueprints

Alexa Blueprints has given Alexa device users the ability to create, share, and publish their own customized skills. Some of these skills, like personal quizzes and babysitter skills, can contain personal information about the user and their family if the user is not careful.

Before you create a skill (and especially before you share a skill), review it and think about if you’re including too much personal info. Avoid statements in babysitter skills like, “Susie just turned one on May 5th, so she’s not sleeping through the night yet,” and instead simply say, “The baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet.” In quizzes, avoid including questions like, “When is aunt Jen’s birthday?” Or “What is Uncle Bill’s middle name?” Keep the questions superfluous and fun, without including the wrong kind of personal information.

Smart Home

Should you buy the Amazon Echo, or the more affordable Echo Dot?

Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get, Amazon's Echo or Echo Dot? We break down the differences between the two Amazon smart speakers.
Smart Home

Forget Alex Trebek -- let Alexa emcee your next game night with these fun skills

If you're looking to get more use out of your Amazon Echo device, there are lots of games to play with Alexa. From storytelling games to trivia to games for kids, these are some of the best skills to make Alexa more fun.
Smart Home

Make Alexa your own: How to change the digital assistant's voice

If you live in a country where English is not the primary language, or you're learning a second language and want to get all the practice you can get, you can set Alexa's default language to one of nine other languages.
Smart Home

Did you just get a brand-new Amazon Echo? Here's how to set it up

This hands-free, voice-controlled device can do so much. Here's how to set up your Amazon Echo, how to customize settings to get the experience you want, and how to set up more in-depth commands like smart device control.
Smart Home

Give your Keurig a cleaning to get the coffee you deserve. Here's how to do it

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on scrubbing your machine and getting your morning coffee back on track.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot is still super cheap at Walmart after Prime Day

Walmart must still be feeling the Prime Day 2019 afterglow. The retail giant is holding firm with its lowest price ever for the versatile Instant Pot Duo60 6-quart 7-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker.
News

Kenzie wants to hide smart assistants inside its cute, crocheted animals

Kenzie is a company that just launched on Kickstarter with the intention of hiding smart speakers beneath adorable, crotcheted stuffed animals. The firm's intention is to disrupt the tech industry with cuteness.
Smart Home

The top digital frames and displays for showing off your photos

Check out the best digital photo frames for displaying your digital photos around the house. The best frames offer smart compatibility, voice controls, facial recognition, and multiple upload options.
Deals

Beat the summer heat: Walmart cuts 51% off the Honeywell portable air cooler

This is a perfect moment to get your own air conditioning as Walmart slashed the price of Honeywell CO25AE Portable Evaporative Air Cooler by over 50%. It mormally sells at $672, you can now get it at a stunning price of $330.
Deals

Best air conditioner deals: LG, TCL, and Frigidaire get discounts

We’re well into summer, but the hottest days are yet to come. Here are a few air conditioner deals available online right now for both portable and window-mounted units in a variety of BTU outputs so you can find the right one for your…
Smart Home

Walmart knocks down prices on Dyson handheld vacuums in post-Prime Day sale

Post-Prime Day sales often include great deals when sellers clear out extra inventory after the sales event. Walmart knocked down the prices on two Dyson V6 Trigger handheld vacuums and one of the deals is clearly better.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on Dyson Ball multifloor upright vacuums

Walmart continues to offer attractive post-Prime Day deals on Dyson vacuums. In addition to significant price cuts on Dyson cordless handheld vacs, Walmart also slashed the prices of two Dyson upright vacuum models.
Deals

Amazon Prime Day deals are ending, but you can still get great bargains

Prime Day 2019 has come to an end for Amazon, but that doesn't mean the Prime Day deals are over. With deals from Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon still going on, this massive shopping event is continuing on through the week.
Deals

Check out these hacks on BOGO deals for Echo Dot, Google Home Mini

The Prime Day 2019 tsunami has receded, but you don't have to wait for monster sales events to get excellent prices. We discovered what amount to buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) deals for the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini.