Tips from the Experts: CES Spreads Awareness of Smart Device Safety (Government Technology)


Hey Siri, did you tell Alexa what we talked about last night?

This is not sample conversation from the latest episode of “The Bachelor.” Within the “internet of things” that connects everything from our phones to our refrigerators, people talk to their devices to access a world of information and convenience. Your device listens when you talk to it — and when you don’t.

Cybersecurity experts discussed Thursday at a series of panels at CES a range of topics, including how to safeguard “always-on” devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s iPhone.

“For the first time, people are starting to think about: There’s all this data going to a third party,” said Zulfikar Ramzan, chief technology officer for RSA Security.

The microphone on an Echo, for example, listens for a voice command at all times. Unless it hears a “wake word” such as Alexa or Amazon, the device does not transmit any information, according to the company. When one of those words is detected, an encrypted query goes out to Amazon.