Can Alexa Be Hacked? Here’s How To Prevent It

Updated: Nov. 29, 2023

Though it's rare, Alexa can be vulnerable to hackers. Here's what you need to know to keep yourself and your personal information safe.

As someone who makes a living as a tech safety expert, I’m constantly asked if smart devices can be hacked. I always answer with this: If it’s connected to Wi-Fi, then it can be hacked. The same is true for Alexa, but don’t be too worried. There are some simple things you can do to protect yourself.

Can Alexa Be Hacked?

If a hacker can gain access to your home’s Wi-Fi network, they can access to anything connected to it. However, we haven’t found any reports of an Alexa device being hacked by someone with nefarious intentions.

Over the years, researchers have hacked Alexa to find vulnerabilities bad actors could exploit. In 2020 the cybersecurity company firm Check Point discovered one that would allow hackers to install Alexa with malware capable of stealing your personal information. Soon after, Amazon fixed the problem.

Earlier this year, researchers from London’s Royal Holloway University and the University of Catania in Italy found a weakness they dubbed “Alexa versus Alexa.” In this case, researchers gained access by getting Alexa devices to say malicious commands to themselves. Thankfully, hackers can’t do this without installing malware first. So if you take precautions, there’s not much worry about this one.

While not exactly hacking, there are instances of someone stealing an Alexa device to find out information about the owner, or Alexa telling people to do weird stuff.

How To Tell if Alexa Is Hacked

Here are some signs your Alexa may have been tampered with:

  • The listening light comes on without you saying the trigger word.

  • You live alone but noticed strange items in your Amazon shopping cart. Someone may be exploiting the Alexa add-to-cart feature.

  • You look at your Alexa-enabled skills and notice some you didn’t add.

What To Do If Alexa Is Hacked

If you suspect your Alexa has been hacked, unplug it immediately. Then take these steps:

  1. File a report with your local law enforcement so they can investigate.

  2. Check your bank account, credit cards and Amazon account for any purchases you didn’t make.

  3. Change the passwords to any accounts linked to your Alexa.

  4. Factory reset your router by pressing and holding the reset button for 10 seconds. Then change the password.

How To Secure Alexa

You can keep your Alexa safe from hacking with these easy prevention tips:

  • Be careful about the skills you enable. Some could be malicious. Look for skills from reputable companies, or with hundreds of good reviews.

  • Use strong passwords with capital letters, symbols and numbers.

  • Reboot your router every 14 days to refresh the IP address. This will throw off potential hackers.

  • Change the device’s trigger word from “Alexa” to another name. To do this, say, “Alexa, change the wake word.”

  • Use a strong password on your Amazon account.

  • Turn on two-factor verification for your Amazon account by going to login and security. Choose the Two-Step Verification (2SV) option, click Edit and then Get Started. Then follow the on-screen prompts.