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How to Prevent a Virtual Assistant from Compromising Your Security

by | Mar 22, 2019 | MyTek Blog, Technology

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Have you ever asked Alexa to check the weather in your locality?

Or, did you use Google Assistant on your phone to set your daily alarm?

If any of the answers are yes, you have knowingly or unknowingly made use of virtual assistants in your day-to-day life.

A virtual assistant is a software that can decode your voice commands and help you with daily tasks. You can install it on your smartphone, PC, or standalone devices like Bixby, which works well on Samsung devices like refrigerators, TV, and more.

However, these virtual assistants also pose a considerable security risk. For example, they can pick up sensitive conversations centered around your personal details. This information can unknowingly pass on to third-party hackers.

So, how can we mitigate the security risks associated with a virtual assistant? Read on more to find out the tips and tricks to better use a virtual assistant to your advantage.

Virtual Assistant As an Internet of Things (IoT) Device 

Do you remember the Mirai botnet incident? Here, the botnet used multiple IoT devices to launch a web attack. When it comes to virtual assistants, they act as just another IoT device. With this consideration, it is easy to form policies to deal with virtual assistant security lapses.

For example, refrain from placing virtual assistant devices in rooms where sensitive discussions take place. Virtual assistants are better off in a common area where only routine talks happen. Also, it is better to have a secondary wireless network for a virtual assistant. In this way, you can prevent infiltration of your primary network.

Data Privacy Issues

Data privacy can be a crucial issue if your organization does not entirely control virtual assistant devices. For example, imagine one of your employees has received a new device. They keep it aside for everyday use. No doubt, it reduces the expense of your business, but it also compromises the security of other employees. You don’t have control over what personal information is being fed into and what is not.

Policies to Protect Against Security Risks

Your business has several devices working in tandem. Each of these is prone to hacking. For example, a phone’s virtual assistant can silently read your personal details; your computer can have remote monitoring software installed, your IoT device can catch crucial information from your private conversations, and more.

To prevent the security mentioned above risks, you need to put robust policies at your workplace.

  • Make it a standard operating process to ensure that listening devices are not placed in a closed-door meeting room.
  • Ask all your employees to install antivirus on their phones. 
  • Make sure there is a regular server check to prevent security risks.

Are you looking for more advice to reduce security threats in your organization? MyTek, a Phoenix IT security firm, can help you keep your workplace safe and secure.

You may contact us or reach out to us at 623-312-2440.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tim Tiller, LMSW

 
Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.

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