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Security & privacy

Protect yourself! Stalkers are using Amazon Alexa devices

According to Amazon, Alexa can follow more than 50,000 unique tasks and commands. Obviously, we can’t list them all, but we’ll give you a starting point. Tap or click here for 15 Alexa commands to try out right now.

Smart speakers are supposed to make our lives easier, but at what cost? Keeping one of these devices around is a privacy risk, but it can worsen.

Stalkers are using Alexa and Echo devices to harass their victims. Imagine being in your home and hearing the voice of someone you don’t want to hear from. It’s scary, but you can do something about it.

So creepy

The Daily Mail reports that in the U.K., about 600 cases are reported monthly. In one case, a jealous ex accessed the Echo speaker in her ex-boyfriend’s bedroom to berate him and his new girlfriend. She also remotely switched the bedside light on and off!

This isn’t so far-fetched and can happen to anyone. It’s a good idea to be prepared to cut someone off from your Alexa, ex or otherwise. Here’s how.

Clean out your house

With Amazon Households, you can have multiple accounts on one device. If you and someone you’d rather forget about are both registered to the same device via you can remove them:

Forget about them

If someone else is connected to your Echo via their phone, you can remove it from the Alexa app:

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Go to Devices > Echo and Alexa and select your Echo device.
  • Tap the settings gear icon and tap Bluetooth Devices.
  • Tap Forget Device next to the phone you want to remove.

Hit the reset button

To be sure, you can do a factory reset on your Echo by pressing and holding the Action button for 20 seconds and waiting for the light ring to turn off and on again. Your device will then enter setup mode.

Burn the bridge

If you want to stop using your Echo altogether, be sure to deregister it first:

  • Go to Manage Your Content and Devices and log in to your account.
  • Click Devices, select your device and click Deregister. You can then toss your Echo, give it away or sell it after a factory reset.

Don’t forget to do this

You’re not entirely done yet. You’ll want to change your account and device passwords in case anyone else has access. Tap or click here for 10 password tips you’ll use all the time.

Also, use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever it’s available. This adds another layer of protection beyond passwords when logging into an account. Tap or click here for more information on using 2FA.

Keep reading

How to tell Alexa to delete what you say

Home intercom systems that don’t use Alexa or Google Assistant

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