The users of Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers have been used to spy on their owners for information. This was approved by the companies themselves and the add-on feature was added to the gadgets. Security Research Labs (SRL) a Berlin-based company built the feature than could deliver horoscopes and generate numbers entered by the users. This was approved by the respective companies and the software was updated so that they could eavesdrop on the users and steal their passwords.
This was then alerted to the companies which then blocked the software. The apps were rather easy to build and are coded in a simple and easy programming language. When the users turn off the devices they did not turn off immediately and kept running for several more seconds. If the users said some particular letters and phrases that were updated in the software they were sent to SRL.
One major flaw that went unnoticed was that the speaker light remained on which meant that the smart device was still listening. According to the SRL, it is something that even the user’s did not notice.
When an important software update was available the users prompted the users to say ‘Start update’ followed by their password. Anything that was said after the word ‘Start’ was recorded and stored in the memory.
As they are smart devices they could store the data they captured and could be used by other apps of Amazon Echo and Google Home which were developed by third parties and not by the parent company. This effectively means that the data were sent to these third party companies.
Amazon and Google have both apologized to their customers for spying on their users and have said that the company was putting extra security features to prevent such issues from occurring again in the future.