Consequence of working from home: exposure to smart speakers - ThreatTraq

This is a transcript of a recent ThreatTraq video. In it, Don Heatley is interviewing John Markley, Principal Technology Security and Tony Tortorici, Associate Director Technology, Security Platforms, of the AT&T Chief Secrity Office on the topic of smart speakers in a home office setting. While smart speakers wouldn't be appropriate in a corporate office, now that so many are working from home this has become a concern. You can also watch the video:

Hi, welcome to COVID-19 Update. In each of these segments, we take a look at a cybersecurity issue that's arising because of this pandemic, particularly with many of us working from home or working remotely. I'm here this week with John Markley and Tony Tortorici.

John: Thanks for having us.

Tony: Thank you.

Don: This week, I want to talk about smart speaker systems. Many people are using them. They have them in their homes. Now that they're working at home, there may be some security issues we need to tell them about. John, tell me, should you even have the smart speaker in the room where you're working or nearby? Tell us.

John: It's a good challenge. I mean, we all love our smart speakers. Some kind of a smart speaker is certainly prevalent in many houses now. However, it's certainly not recommended or suggested at all that you have a smart speaker in your work environment. In general, I think we would recommend that you either turn it off or locate it in a different room than where you're working.

Don: And Tony, what about the settings on a smart speaker? What should we know about that?

Tony: That's a really good question. When it comes down to settings with a smart device, always research the privacy aspects. Mute it or leave it in a different room. You want to make sure that you understand your privacy settings on these devices - you restrict it as much as you can.

Don: John, any advice about how one should set up their smart speaker?

John: I would suggest the first thing is a strong password. Every app that controls that device should have a strong password. Some vendors are coming p with better security now that so many people are working from home. You want a complex password for sure.

Don: And Tony, what about the software you install on these devices? Tell me what we should be aware of there.

Tony: I would definitely be careful of anything that's third party or not part of the initial smart home device. When you're looking for different things to plug into your smart home device, look up where they're from, the ratings, different things like that. With certain devices, see what those third party apps are allowed to do once you install them. Some of it can be a little bit tricky. They can be asking for permissions on certain things where that app really doesn't need. So you have to be careful and pay attention to the access that those apps can have on those devices.

Don: Well, thanks for all the great advice guys. Thank you all for watching, and as always, stay safe.

AT&T CHIEF SECURITY OFFICE (CSO)

About the Author: AT&T CHIEF SECURITY OFFICE (CSO), AT&T

The AT&T Chief Security Office (CSO) establishes policy and requirements, as well as comprehensive programs, to ensure security is incorporated into every facet of AT&T's computing and networking environments. Our technical personnel work in partnership with other AT&T Business Units and Divisions to evaluate threats, determine protective measures, create response capabilities, and ensure compliance with best security practices.

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