If you have an Amazon Echo, Dot, or any Amazon smart speaker, you're going to want to read on, because an update that is coming soon may put your privacy and security at risk.
On June 8, all Amazon devices will automatically update and enroll in 'Amazon Sidewalk.' This new feature will create a shared network with your wi-fi, allowing you and your neighbors to connect to each other's wi-fi without trading passwords.
Amazon says the feature will help devices stay online even if out of range. However, security experts say that wi-fi is very insecure and that Amazon Sidewalk will make it super easy to give hackers access to your security cameras, video doorbells, or even worse.
Ars Technica says:
Consider the wealth of intimate details Amazon devices are privy to. They see who knocks on our doors, and in some homes, they peer into our living rooms. They hear the conversations we're having with friends and family. They control locks and other security systems in our home. Extending the reach of all this encrypted data to the sidewalk and living rooms of neighbors requires a level of confidence that's not warranted for a technology that has never seen widespread testing.
What the smart people said. While I don't have much to hide, I'm still not comfortable with my wi-fi being accessible without a password. And if that means that I have to go without Alexa when the signal is weak, so be it.
Now, let me show you how to 'opt-out' of the Amazon Sidewalk update. Experts say that you really want to do this before Monday, June 8 when the auto-update happens.
You simply open the Alexa app and go to your account settings. Then click on 'Amazon Sidewalk' and choose 'Off.' After that, you're good to go. One more thing, 'hey Alexa, stop being so creepy."