Can Alexa Be Hacked? And What to Do if It Was?

Did you know that 91% of people in the United States are worried about security risks on the internet? Do you know that 61% of consumers believe that hackers and cybercriminals could target them next within the next year? Well, now you do. Cybersecurity is an increasing concern of people due to all the electronics in our homes that we have connected to the internet and all the microphones and cameras that we have active at all times.

Speaking of microphones and cameras in our homes, let’s take a look at the Echo series of devices from tech giant Amazon. Some models have a camera while some don’t, but all of them have a microphone that is constantly listening because that makes it a smart speaker. Of course, more and more people are getting smart speakers, too, as the market is growing rapidly. The market was valued at 7.1 billion dollars as of 2020!

With all of this knowledge in mind, it shouldn’t be too surprising that you might be worried about Alexa hackers. But do they even exist in the first place? If you’re here reading this article, you’re looking for an answer to the question, can Alexa be hacked? Well, sit back, and let’s get into all the details and answers you’re looking for.

Do you have a particular question about hacking on Alexa? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

 Can your Alexa be hacked?

The simple answer to this is yes. There have been many cases where people have had their Amazon Echo hacked. And instances where researchers have been able to demonstrate vulnerabilities in the product and shown how to hack Alexa.

One of the more interesting ways your Alexa can be hacked is by using a laser beam and pointing it at the microphone. This can work over long distances and even through glass, so it’s pretty troubling. But, of course, this is something that needs to be programmed by someone with expertise, so don’t expect your average neighbor to be able to pull it off.

These hacks focus on tricking the Echo into carrying out voice commands, either by using a voice through its own speaker or by getting the laser to mimic a voice through the electric signals it generates in the microphone. Once this is done, they can use it to turn appliances on and off, open doors, make purchases, and even unlock and switch on compatible vehicles.

These are only some of the ways that you can have your Alexa hacked, so keep in mind that there are other ways hackers might be able to come for you.

 Can Alexa cameras be hacked?

If there’s one thing that might help keep your mind at rest, it’s that there are no obvious public instances of the cameras in the Alexa devices being hacked by bad guys. This is a huge relief, and if there’s any such vulnerability available, it is certainly not well-known.

This may be because, unlike a smartphone, we don’t tend to carry our Echo devices with us everywhere. As a result, hackers might simply find hacking the camera to be less ‘profitable’ than being able to listen in on conversations or carry out voice commands from remote locations.

So, rest easy. You don’t need to put a piece of tape over your Echo’s camera anytime soon, which is a relief to all of us.

 Can Alexa be hacked to listen to conversations?

Now, while you might have been happy knowing that there’s no way for hackers to access the camera on your Echo device, the microphone is a completely different ball game.

There have been many instances of hackers being able to listen in on voice conversations once they get an Alexa hacked. In one of the most notable instances, clicking a single Amazon link was enough for the hacker to access your device, including listening in on the voice history that Alexa has picked up and stored. However, the silver lining here is that there seems to be no case of people being able to remotely turn your Echo into a real-time listening device.

Not only that, but this same vulnerability gives them access to much more, including your personal info, the apps you have, and more.

 How do I know if my Alexa is hacked?

So, was your Echo Dot hacked? The problem is, that it can be tough to tell. You can always check to see if there’s an activity you don’t recognize, and checking the skills you have installed on the device is perhaps the best method.

Look out for skills that you’re confident you didn’t install. If you find any of these, you likely had your Amazon Echo hacked at some point. In fact, the hacker may still have access through these skills that they installed without permission.

 What to do if Alexa is hacked?

Of course, if you can confirm that your Alexa is indeed hacked, you might begin to panic. However, you probably have nothing to worry about if you keep calm. We’ll get through this together! Most times, all you need to do is delete a Skill that the hacker must have used to gain access to your device.

To check and remove the Skills installed on your device, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to alexa.amazon.com. Alternatively, you can open the Alexa app on your smartphone if you have it.
  2. Go to the “Skills” entry in the menu on the left side of the screen.
  3. If you’re on the Skills page now, look towards the top-right corner of the screen for the “Your Skills” button and press it.
  4. From here, you will see all the Skills that are installed on your device. Look for the ones that you don’t recognize.
  5. If you find one that you’re sure you didn’t install, tap on it.
  6. Now, press the “Disable Skill” button.
  7. Confirm the prompt that appears, and that’s it! You have been able to successfully defeat the evil Alexa hackers.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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