Amazon Sidewalk feature is dangerous

If you have an Amazon Echo, Dot, or any other Amazon smart speaker, you’ll want to keep reading because an upcoming update can put your privacy and security at risk.

Listen to Matt Ryan weekday afternoons on 94.3 The Point and download our free 94.3 The Point app.

On June 8, all Amazon devices will be automatically updated and enrolled in “Amazon Sidewalk”. This new feature will create a shared network with your Wi-Fi, allowing you and your neighbors to connect to each other’s Wi-Fi without exchanging your passwords.

Crazy, right?

Amazon says this feature will help devices stay online even if they are out of range. However, security experts say wi-fi is very insecure and Amazon Sidewalk will give hackers very easy access to your security cameras, video doorbells, or worse.

Ars Technica says:

Consider the wealth of intimate details that Amazon devices have access to. They see who is knocking on our doors, and in some homes, they look in our living rooms. They hear the conversations we have with our friends and family. They control the locks and other security systems in our home. Extending the reach of all this encrypted data to sidewalks and neighboring living rooms requires a level of trust that is not guaranteed for technology that has never been tested on a large scale.

What smart people said. Although I don’t have much to hide, I’m still not comfortable with my wi-fi being accessible without a password. And if that means I have to do without Alexa when the signal is weak, so be it.

Now let me show you how to unsubscribe from the Amazon Sidewalk update. Experts say you really want to do it before Monday, June 8, when the automatic update is due.

You simply open the Alexa app and go to your account settings. Then click on “Amazon Sidewalk” and choose “Disabled”. After that, you are good to go. One more thing, ‘hey Alexa, stop being so scary.’

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Harold Shirley

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