Home automation device hijacks homes’ HVAC systems

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Amazon’s Echo home automation device reportedly took things into its own hands and adjusted thermostats without owners’ authority.

March 23, 2016
Home automation device hijacks homes’ HVAC systems

Amazon Echo. Photo: Rob Albright/Creative Commons.

Amazon’s Echo home automation device reportedly took things into its own hands and adjusted thermostats without owners’ authority.

After hearing a National Public Radio report about Echo, the device acted on its own and turned up the heat to 70 degrees in it least one home. Echo is activated by saying the name “Alexa” in the same fashion as iPhone users interact with Siri. The device apparently heard the name “Alexa” on the radio report and took action.

Some voice recognition now comes with basic “fingerprinting,” allowing devices to recognize whether their owners are the ones issuing the commands, which should prevent this problem. 

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