Imagine you are having a simple conversation with a friend or family member. Your child wants a special toy for the holidays, you’re thinking about trying a different hair product, you need new sunglasses.
Of course, the first place you look for these products is on websites like Google or Amazon. But before you can even get to the search bar, ads for the very products you were just talking about pop up on your phone screen.
It could be a coincidence, but it’s important to be sure that nothing suspicious is going on.
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Are our smartphones always listening to us?
The answer is really yes and no.
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What are speech recognition assistants and should I be concerned?
Smartphones often have built-in voice recognition assistants that can help us find answers to questions such as: B. the Apple iPhone feature known as Siri. But these assistants are designed to only listen to us when we’re asked to (e.g., “Hey Siri, what song is playing?”).
How can I tell if my device is listening to me?
There are also built-in microphones in every smartphone, and your device should warn you when its microphone is being used to record you. When your microphone is in use, an orange dot should appear in the top-right corner of your screen, just above your Wi-Fi and battery icons. You can also swipe down from the top of the screen to see which apps on your phone are using the microphone.
Your smartphone is also designed to track your data and search history.
This allows companies to send you personalized advertisements based on articles you’ve previously clicked or researched and entice you to consume more of their products. It’s more of a tool they use to trick you into reaching into your wallet than to get your personal information.
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How can I stop my phone from listening to me?
Just because our smartphones can listen to us doesn’t mean we have to let them. Here are a few simple steps you can take to restrict eavesdropping on your phone:
1) Turn off your voice recognition assistant
How to disable Siri
- Go to settings
- Click Siri & Search
- Disable the following options: List for “Hey Siri”, Press side button for Siri, and Allow Siri when locked
- A pop-up window will ask if you want to turn off Siri. Click Turn Siri Off.
How to disable Google Assistant
- Go to settings
- Select Google
- Click Account Services
- Click Search, Assistant and Language
- select voice
- Select VoiceMatch
- Disable “Hey Google”.
2) Turn off your microphone for all your applications
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How to stop your iOS device from listening to you
- Click Settings
- Scroll down to any application (Facebook, Snapchat, etc.)
- Disable the microphone option.
When your phone has malware, scammers listen
Finally, one important consideration. If your device responds slowly and you get strange pop-ups on your phone, your device might be infected with malware. You may have accidentally clicked on a link that looked legitimate, when in fact it was a malware installation link. When you have malware, scammers can do a variety of things, including monitoring you and installing software on your device that mimics clicks and generates revenue for the scammer.
Lock up your technique
My greatest wish is to educate and inform you about the increasing real threat to each of our connected devices and to encourage you to use strong antivirus protection for everything in your life that is connected to the rest of the world. The best way to protect yourself is to install antivirus software on your devices.
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