Since the inception, smart speakers have seen several improvements. More people are using these gadgets because they are more versatile and packed with features than ever before. According to iot smart speaker statistics over 60 million U.S. households have a smart speaker by year’s end.
Despite their expanding popularity, many individuals, particularly those who work in cybersecurity, are still wary of these gadgets. In general, security for Internet of Things gadgets is notoriously difficult. Do the potential drawbacks outweigh the advantages, or have smart speaker manufacturers already resolved these old problems?
In 2022, the following are the most salient advantages and security concerns associated with having a smart speaker.
The Value of Wireless Speakers
It’s impossible to deny the allure of smart speakers. These gadgets are at the core of the increasingly popular “smart home” concept. However, having a smart home isn’t necessary to enjoy the features of an Amazon Echo or a Google Home.
In most cases, smart speakers facilitate convenience by facilitating little but noticeable enhancements and efficiency in routine activities. Some people may be more interested in the benefits than others, but nonetheless, let’s take a deeper look at how smart speakers might help you.
Smart speakers’ main benefit is the ease they provide to doing regular things. They can handle anything from answering your queries and making calls to scheduling appointments without you ever picking up the phone. When connected to the same Wi-Fi network as other smart devices, you can use your voice to adjust the thermostat, unlock doors, and turn off the lights.
Most users will find these time-saving tools useful, but for others, they might be transformational. By increasing the ways in which people with impairments may utilize these technologies, they can gain more autonomy. Even if they are unable to use their hands, people with severe musculoskeletal disorders may nevertheless control their environment using simple voice instructions, such as turning on lights or other devices.
Smart speakers are being used in certain assisted living facilities to encourage residents to complete routine activities. The use of automated reminders rather than human ones increases residents’ trust in the system and frees up staff time.
You may save a lot of time and money by using a smart speaker. The artificial intelligence (AI) behind these gadgets has advanced to the point where it can learn from human behavior on its own. As you put it through its paces, it will eventually learn your routine and speed through it without you having to lift a finger.
Smart speakers have expanded their device compatibility in recent years. This allows for the automation of even more processes, such as temperature and lighting. Significant savings may be realized when energy-intensive tasks are routinely automated by a gadget that has learned your habits.
The average American home is only 65% efficient in its use of electricity, resulting in an annual energy loss of 3.75 quadrillion BTUs. By limiting consumption to what is really required, smart speakers help save money.
- Managing Emergencies
In terms of actual safety, smart speakers may be quite useful as well. Among the current choices is hardware equipped to detect the sound of a forced entrance. You and the authorities will then be protected from potential invaders thanks to their ability to receive alerts from the system.
To better communicate with the public during times of crisis, certain emergency management agencies have implemented mass notification systems that include smart speakers. In the event of an oncoming disaster, these devices may be used to immediately disseminate alerts to those in danger. Increased accessibility due to smart speaker integration with vehicles.
The vast majority of today’s top-tier security providers provide products or systems that are compatible with smart speakers. This connection improves the usability of home security equipment like cameras. You may use voice commands, phone calls, or timers to operate them with your smart speaker.
Issues With Smart Speakers’ Safety
There is now a lot wider variety of options in the smart speaker industry than there was even just a few years ago. Although these gadgets now provide a wider variety of advantages, it doesn’t make them faultless. Despite their many benefits, smart speakers of the present nevertheless suffer from serious security issues.
Some of these vulnerabilities may not be as serious as they once were since there are more IoT security solutions accessible today than ever before. However, they may be sufficient to discourage some people from adopting smart speakers. We will now go through some of the particular security issues plaguing modern smart speakers.
- Inadequate Privacy
Some consumers are wary of smart speakers since Amazon and Google control the two most popular brands. Companies of this size and focus are certain to raise privacy issues. The problem is made worse by smart speakers since they may secretly collect massive quantities of data.
In early 2020, a security flaw permitted Google Home devices to continuously and automatically record people. Although Google has subsequently rolled back the adjustment, the incident does cast a negative light on the security of smart speakers. Your smart speaker might become a listening post if an update breaks it.
It’s unclear what will happen to the data recorded by your smart speaker, even if it only does so when you want it to. Ring, a maker of video doorbells owned by Amazon since 2019, has started providing police departments with access to its subscribers’ footage. In the future, Amazon may be able to do whatever they want with the information they get from your Echo conversations because of this.
- Threat of Hacking
The networked nature of smart speakers is a major strength in terms of convenience, but also a major weakness. Your speaker’s vulnerability increases in proportion to the number of devices you use it with. If these are compromised, the whole of your home network is vulnerable.
The hackability of smart speakers makes this vulnerability all the more worrying. In 2019, scientists showed that these devices may be hacked from a distance of 360 feet with a simple laser pointer. That’s just one of the several hacks that have been used to take control of smart speakers.
Smart speakers, like many IoT gadgets, offer weak security features out of the box. The security of these devices is improving, but new vulnerabilities are discovered often, and many security measures are still discretionary. If there isn’t clear regulation on how to keep these gadgets safe, it’s up to the individual to take precautions.
How to Use a Smart Speaker Without Risk?
Some people who are very concerned about their data safety may feel uneasy about purchasing a smart speaker because of the potential vulnerabilities they provide. In spite of the fact that these gadgets provide a potential security risk, they may be hardened. You can use a smart speaker securely if you are aware of the risks and take some additional precautions.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your smart speaker is to restrict the devices that may be linked to it. If it can’t communicate with lots of other things, it won’t pose as much of a risk if compromised. If you have a lot of smart gadgets, you may want to consider creating a separate Wi-Fi network for them.
Be cautious about sharing private details with your speaker as you use it. If you want to be sure you’re not being recorded while you’re not using the microphone, you may want to try turning it off. Smart speakers need not pose a danger if you take these precautions and are aware of the potential dangers they pose.
The smart speakers of today have a far wider range of applications than their predecessors. However, their usefulness is tempered by the fact that they may also pose a serious security risk. Before buying or utilizing one, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.
Potentially unsafe for many smart speaker users. When you do, though, you’ll be able to utilize the gadgets without risk. You may get all of their benefits while minimizing the danger to your network with careful deployment.