Amazon Astro: User privacy concerns

Amazon Astro: User privacy concerns

March 5, 2024 privacy 0

If you were searching for a solution to monitor your home while you’re away or help with household duties, you’ve probably heard about the Amazon Astro robot. Though it can ease your everyday life, the robot has also received critique from the cybersecurity community about how much privacy it can actually offer. In the end, no one wants to be spied on by a household robot. Learn how Amazon Astro works, the possible security threats lurking behind the robot, and how to protect yourself against them. What is Amazon Astro? Amazon Astro is Amazon’s household robot that can keep an eye on people in your house and perform home monitoring tasks and other helper duties. It patrols your premises, uses facial recognition to identify household members, and tracks your family’s behavior patterns. Users control the robot from a special application that also alerts them if something unusual happens. For example, the Astro robot can observe a stranger visiting your house, like a new babysitter, or react to unusual sounds such as fire alarms. You can monitor your house remotely and even communicate and help your household members when you’re not around. The Amazon robot can also investigate suspicious activity and send you a video recording of what’s happening in your home if you’re away. To navigate your premises, Astro requires a detailed map of your home to be stored in its systems. The robot can also be synced with the Ring doorbell, another Amazon gadget. How does Amazon Astro work? Amazon Astro combines high-end technologies to provide a well-rounded smart household device. It was built using artificial intelligence and machine learning and incorporates some elements of augmented intelligence. The little robot moves on a set of wheels and can understand the layout of your house by following integrated navigation systems. The Astro uses cameras and sensors to recognize people, pets, and objects and as a result, can perform various commands related to particular subjects. The periscope cameras allow Astro to extend upwards to understand its surroundings better. Amazon has also integrated Alexa into its home robot, allowing it to respond to commands and recognize the voices of each household member. In addition, Astro can interact with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices at your house and act as a hub for managing your smart home. Possible security threats posed by Amazon Astro When Amazon Astro hit the shelves in 2021, the cybersecurity community was concerned about the robot’s security. Overall, Amazon has a questionable reputation when it comes to user privacy. Moreover, rumors about the robot’s security flaws ran freely soon after its release. Since the launch of the Astro robot, Amazon claimed to have fixed many of its vulnerabilities, but some security risks can still be hard to avoid. Take a look into some concerning aspects of the Amazon household robot. Privacy concerns Amazon is infamous for its invasive data collection policies, which help the company learn more about its users’ behavior. This knowledge is precious because it allows Amazon to advertise more products and services customized to its users. Given the Astro robot has direct access to monitoring your home and you in it, it’s a gold mine of valuable user information. So, if you use Astro with poorly adjusted privacy settings, Amazon can capture large amounts of data harvested from video and audio recordings, as well as your personal information necessary for the robot’s functioning, and store it on the company’s servers. Moreover, the Astro robot’s capability of patrolling your house and recording what’s happening can turn it into a tool for intrusive surveillance, potentially capturing compromising footage without consent. Security threats If a hacker ever breaches a tool that collects an extensive amount of your personal data, the consequences can be grave. As a rule, what’s accessible online is not immune to hacking attempts and malware infections. With information stolen from Amazon Astro, threat actors can steal and fake your biometric data, breach your home security, take over your other smart home devices, and even break into your house remotely. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles} Advantages and disadvantages of the Amazon Astro robot Amazon Astro can both ease your life and cause headaches. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of the robot that you should consider before purchasing it: How can you protect yourself from possible Amazon Astro threats? You can minimize privacy and security threats the Astro robot may pose by following these bits of advice: Customize privacy settings. You should adjust the robot’s privacy settings so it only collects the data necessary for functioning. This means disabling continuous recording of its surroundings and regularly deleting stored data, such as video and audio recordings. You can also check what data Amazon captures from the robot and stores on its servers by requesting the company to provide your Amazon data. Use a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your traffic and spoofs your IP address, which helps protect against hackers intercepting your traffic and stealing your sensitive data. We recommend installing a VPN on your router to protect your whole network simultaneously. Minimize the number of connected IoT devices. Whenever Astro connects to your other smart home devices, it can capture data saved on that connected device. While that feature helps smoothen smart home functioning, it raises the stakes of losing a vast amount of sensitive data in the event of hackers breaching your Astro robot. Use strong passwords. A complex, strong password can help you keep hackers at arm’s length. You should always use passwords that are at least eight characters long and include upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Regularly update software. The latest firmware updates typically include security patches against known system vulnerabilities. You also shouldn’t forget to update the app you use to control your Astro robot.

Currently, the Amazon Astro robot costs around $1,600. However, the price slightly differs depending on which platform you’re buying it from. ), }, { question: ‘Does Amazon Astro use AI?’, answer: ( Yes, Amazon Astro was built using both artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. ), }, { question: ‘Can Amazon Astro climb stairs?’, answer: ( No, the Astro robot was designed to move on flat surfaces and can navigate by avoiding obstacles, but it doesn’t have the ability to climb stairs. ), }, ]} />

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