Is Zoom safe? Is Alexa listening?

Everence news |

Everence Security Officer Rob Blucker, CISSP, CISA, offers information and best practices

As millions of people have transitioned to working from home during the course of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, we’ve all adjusted to and learned new ways to communicate and work remotely – which has also opened up a flood of security questions and concerns for Everence® members and clients.

Is Zoom safe for meetings?

The rapid adoption of Zoom has also led to increased scrutiny regarding the platform’s security, bringing some legitimate concerns to light.

Zoom has, impressively, addressed these security flaws quickly. Additionally, they’ve implemented changes to mitigate current and potential flaws, adjusted their infrastructure, and modified their internal practices to provide safety measures.

The Everence IT (Information Technology) team has been monitoring the steps Zoom has taken, examining the concerns raised by users, and consulted with other experts in the technology security industry. Based on our research, Zoom has proven themselves a safe communication platform for Everence staff, members and clients to use. Additionally, Everence has taken further precautions, such as locking down certain Zoom settings and limiting our Zoom traffic within North America.

Individuals can – and should – take the additional step of password-protecting their Zoom meetings, which is considered a best practice for Zoom users.

Are Alexa and Google Home eavesdropping on conversations with my financial consultant?

You may not realize this, but your Amazon Echo or Google Home device are recording certain amounts of audio throughout the day for research purposes. If you have one of these devices in your home, all of this is outlined in your user agreement with these companies. And, while Amazon has included some new security features in recent versions of the Echo, these features are not set as the default.

If you’re working from home, the simplest way to protect your information is to unplug or mute your Amazon or Google smart speakers. Sure, you won’t be able use your voice to turn on your house lights or play your favorite song, but you’ll know that Amazon and Google aren’t potentially listening in on your conversations.

If you absolutely do not want to turn off your smart speakers, you can go through a set of steps to keep your conversations private. This is more time consuming, though.

What about Siri on my iPhone?

Apple has done a better, more proactive job of addressing privacy concerns. Late last summer, they announced that Apple would no longer retain Siri digital assistant recordings by default.

Ensuring data security

Technology security constantly changes over the course of time. As new vulnerabilities are identified, users should implement updated practices to keep themselves safe. Rest assured that Everence is monitoring and implementing measures on a regular basis to keep our member and client information safe.
Rob Blucker head shot

Author

Rob Blucker, CISSP, CISA
Everence Security Officer and Director of IT Infrastructure 

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