The chance is low for hackers to want to hack users’ smart speakers and hear what they are saying, according to Jake Williams, founder and president of cybersecurity firm Rendition Infosec.
Williams, who was a former hacker working for the National Security Agency at the U.S. Department of Defense, told the CNBC about his experience.
As the popularity of smart speakers rises, the concern of user privacy has also been discussed often. Security researchers have pointed out that vulnerabilities in smart speakers could let hackers take over control of home devices. It was reported that an Amazon speaker was recording a user’s conversation before sending it to the user’s contacts.
Although privacy may be compromised, users’ conversation likely won’t interest hackers. “Would-be attackers don’t care what you’re talking about at home, they’re looking to monetize data,” said Williams.
How to use homeowners’ data or information and make money from them are most interest attackers the most. In other words, they might want to target a user’s banking information rather than trying to control smart speakers.
Smart speakers has two forms of data input – user’s voice commands and the data stream from Amazon or Google’s server. The voice commands cannot be hacked while the data stream is not an easy target unless the tech giants have large security holes in their infrastructure, which is unlikely.
Rather than worrying about attackers’ intrusion into digital privacy through smart speaker, users should be more concerned about how Amazon and Google can monetize users’ voice data, or about how other connected devices such as smartphones or laptops can be compromised.
“If you really think you’ve checked the box on everything else – your phone is secure, you’ve got full encryption on your phone, you’ve got full encryption on your laptop, you’ve got endpoint security every place, you have two-factor authentication – if all that’s done, then worry about Alexa. Until then, spend your time worrying about literally everything else,” said Williams.