Amazon Echo Recorded A Woman’s Voice And Sent It To Another Alexa

This is a total #Fail.

According to KIRO 7, a family from Portland suddenly received a phone call from a person on their contact list telling them to “Unplug your Alexa devices right now, You’re being hacked.” This person, who was an employee of the husband, stated that he had received audio recordings of conversations that took place in the family’s home. He was able to prove this by telling the family what they had just been talking about. Here’s the scary part. When the family reached out to Amazon, they were able to confirm that this happened.

Scary.

Now the article lacks details about how this happened. But if I were to make a guess, I would say that since this thing is always listening to you, it likely heard and misinterpreted something that made it send the conversation to the third party. But that’s just a guess. Amazon would really do the world a favor by describing what happened and how it will stop this from happening again in the future.

Well, they sort of did that:

Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request. At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right.” As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.

The problem is that the device would have said something if that were true to confirm the intent of the people who were speaking. Thus unless these people were clueless, there’s is no way they would have not noticed this. Amazon needs to come up with a better answer than this.

As an aside, could this happen with other smart home speakers? Inquiring minds want to know.

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