Many people use voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant in their homes to help control their home’s systems, including in some cases security systems. However, a newly discovered flaw in those virtual helpers calls into question the wisdom of connecting them to security systems or even using them at all.
As it turns out, these assistants can not only be controlled by sound (i.e., voice commands), they can also be controlled by light. In tests conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications, all major brands of smart speakers were able to be activated and controlled using laser pointers from distances over 300 feet away.
That means that someone standing outside your home and shining a laser pointer at a smart speaker visible through a window could issue it commands to open the garage door, unlock the doors, or disarm your security system—if it is connected to those devices.
This major flaw in the design of smart speakers affects all brands and has not yet been fixed. It is yet another blow to the trustworthiness and reliability of smart speakers and other “DIY” home security technology. Other recent revelations in recent years about these companies include:
- Amazon’s Alexa speakers apparently are often activated and record conversations without the knowledge of the people talking.
- Google’s “Nest” security equipment featured a hidden microphone that it “forgot” to tell consumers about (this revelation was in addition to a separate revelation that the cameras that came with these systems were vulnerable to hacking).
- SimpliSafe security equipment was found to have numerous flaws including being prone to hacking.
- Ring (which is owned by Amazon) has been raising eyebrows with the way it uses partnerships with local police departments to create what amounts to a privately owned network of security cameras.
In summary, it is getting harder and harder to find home security solutions you can trust not to violate your privacy or leave you vulnerable to hacking.
That’s why doing business with a company like Dynamark Security of Richmond can be so helpful. As a locally owned independent company, we only supply the highest quality equipment to our customers, which is installed by trained and certified professionals (not subcontractors). We’ve been in business over 30 years and have earned the trust of thousands of homeowners and business owners in the area, which is why we’re the #1-rated Richmond-based home security company.
If you’re sick of major corporations violating your privacy and compromising your security for the sake of improving their bottom lines, then contact us today to request a free quote for a home security system.