Here’s why it’s important to audit your Amazon Alexa skills (and how to do it)
Amazon has always tried to push its Alexa-enabled smart speakers as a platform, boasting about the number of third-party “skills” available (more than 100,000 in the most recent count). In our experience, the majority of these skills are useless gimmicks; one-note jokes you install and forget about. But it turns out they might pose a privacy threat, too.
The first large-scale study of privacy vulnerabilities in Alexa’s skill ecosystem was carried out by researchers at North Carolina State and Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. They found a number of worrying issues, particularly in the vetting processes Amazon uses to check the integrity of each skill. Here’s a quick summary of their findings:
- Activating the wrong skill. Since 2017,…