Amazon Sidewalk raises privacy concerns

Hands are shown on a laptop, which displays camera feeds from a home

Recently, Amazon has enabled a technology called Sidewalk on millions of Amazon Echo speakers and Ring Security cameras. Sidewalk is a networking bridge between Amazon devices that can share your internet connection to any outside device enabled to connect with the Sidewalk network. Amazon’s intent with this feature is to give devices that get lost or lose connection the ability to connect to the Sidewalk network and Amazon services for things like security alerts. However, what this means in practice is that your internet connection is shared without your explicit consent.

 

From a security point of view this has the potential to expose your home network to outside intruders. A solution like this can never be completely secure. There is the potential that this could lead to compromise of your network and devices connected to it, and leak information about you, your family, and your home network.

 

Amazon automatically enrolled millions of devices into this new Sidewalk network, requiring you opt-out if you do not want it. This approach requires both awareness and action on your part should you decide you do not want to participate. For your security and privacy, we recommend that this feature be turned off. We provide this information to you only to help you make informed decisions and is not in any way a requirement.

 

Steps to disable Sidewalk:

·         If you have Echo devices, go to the Alexa app on a phone, then tap the More icon. Tap on Settings, then tap on Account Settings, select Amazon Sidewalk and make sure “Enabled” is set to off.

·         If you have Ring devices, go to the Ring app on a phone, then tap the three bars at the top left corner to get to the menu. Then tap Control Center, then scroll down to Amazon Sidewalk and make sure “Enabled” is set to off.

 

 This article was written by Sheldon Wilmeth, Information Security Specialist, TwinStar Credit Union.