Amazon’s Alexa is a great device that works as your personal assistant. It can do all sorts of things, from helping you surf the web to making appointments and setting reminders – everything that a normal human assistant can do, but is it safe? Are there any VPNs that work with Alexa to protect your privacy? Let’s find out.
⏳Short in time? Here is a quick guide for you:
- Being an IoT device, Amazon’s Echo is vulnerable to being hacked.
- Currently, Alexa does not have an integrated VPN or native application for VPNs.
- The only way to use Alexa with a VPN is by getting a VPN router, and connecting Alexa to the Wi-Fi of that router.
- A VPN will also encrypt your traffic and keep you safe from the vulnerabilities that IoT’s have.
Why You Should Use A VPN With Alexa
Alexa is an IoT device, more commonly known as an Internet of Things device. These are computing devices that connect wirelessly to a network and also have the ability to transmit data.
The reason we mention this is because IoT devices are often very vulnerable. For instance, IoT devices generally have an insecure network that runs on the device itself, they compromise your confidential information and can also allow unauthorized control.
This is proved by the many cases where Amazon’s Alexa has been hacked. To add insult to injury, Amazon’s Alexa has also been the victim of many data breaches where the customer’s voice recordings may have been accessed by hackers.
Naturally, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the sole tool that comes to anyone’s mind when discussing a secured network. All premium VPNs provide a very secure connection that is also encrypted and keeps you safe from any stalking eyes.
It is recommended that you use a VPN with all of your IoT devices.
Is Amazon’s Alexa Privacy Friendly?
We know that IoT devices are often vulnerable, but are hackers the only threat? Not really. Alexa could be a threat to you and your privacy. This is a quite fair conclusion, as purchasing Alexa is as good as inviting a huge microphone to your house. Let’s understand how Alexa may be a threat to your privacy.
Firstly, the researchers at the University of Michigan found that Alexa is always listening. It is always listening for the “wake” word. Upon hearing the wake word, it starts recording all audio – which is then sent to Amazon’s Cloud. Once it reaches the cloud, all the audio gets analyzed and your speech pattern and words are identified.
This does not seem very privacy-friendly, though we understand it is required for Amazon’s Alexa to function properly. However, there have been some cases in the past where Alexa has malfunctioned quite badly, and here’s one creepy case.
In early 2018, a woman’s Alexa recorded a private conversation with her husband and sent it to a random contact of hers. The random contact then contacted the woman’s husband and warned them to turn off all Alexa devices as he had been receiving their audio.
Naturally, the woman is now scared to own any Alexa devices and simply does not trust them. She describes that she felt her privacy was invaded. It might be safe to say that Alexa is not very privacy friendly if it has the power to record and send your conversations to any contact of yours for no reason.
Can Alexa Work With A VPN?
Yes. Alexa does work with a VPN. However, Alexa does not offer native support for VPNs so it could get slightly tricky. Since Amazon’s Echo does not allow the installation of any other apps like Amazon’s FireTV does, the only working way to use a VPN is by using a router.
Most Premium VPNs offer a VPN for your router, meaning your Wi-Fi connection is secure regardless of what device you use it with. Every device that is connected to your internet will benefit from the security and privacy that are provided by the VPN.
Best VPNs For Alexa
Here are the top five VPNs that work great with Alexa, along with a quick overview provided. All of the VPNs below will work with Amazon’s Echo along with other IoT devices like your Amazon Firestick and the like. These VPNs are safe for use, and can be easily on your router for easy access on all devices.
We recommend using ExpressVPN on your Amazon device. It is the leading VPN service provider developed in 2009 and is still considered to be at the top of the game. It has a very large user base, and it uses the military-grade AES-256 encryption standard.
Using Alexa with a router that has ExpressVPN set up is quite easy. Simply connecting your Amazon device to the wi-fi of the router will make it work.
ExpressVPN also supports six simultaneous connections, split tunneling, and a strict no-logs policy. Additionally, it also provides 24/7 live customer support that could help you set up ExpressVPN on Alexa if you run into any sort of trouble.
ExpressVPN: A Quick Overview
- High-Speed Servers in 94 countries.
- Unblock Amazon Prime, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and more.
- Unbeatable Security Encryption with OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, and ExpressVPN’s own Lightway protocol.
- Full torrenting support (dedicated P2P servers) with split tunneling.
- 5 simultaneous device connections or unlimited connections with an ExpressVPN-compatible router.
- Zero-log policy to protect your privacy.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Game Consoles, routers, and more.
- Network Lock kill switch.
- 24/7 Customer Support.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
VPNhelper readers can get extra three months free with a 12-month ExpressVPN subscription. That’s a 49% saving!
NordVPN is also one of the top VPN service providers that offer an OpenVPN manual configuration for your routers. It can help hide your IP address, protect your network traffic, and also fake your geographic location online. It has added protection against hackers and trackers.
Once it has been set up on your router, connecting your Amazon Echo to the wi-fi will ensure that all of your network traffic is encrypted and secure from all hackers.
- 5500+ servers in 62+ Countries
- Double VPN feature for extra privacy
- Unlimited Streaming in Ultra HD quality without data caps
- Unlimited P2P/Torrenting anonymously with dedicated P2P servers
- Unblocks International services Netflix, Hulu, Prime, HBO, iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.
- CyberSec to avoid malware and block ads
- Reliable kill switch
- Strict No-logs policy
- 30 Days full refund policy
SurfShark is yet another great VPN that supports installation on your router. It is quite affordable and can protect your Alexa Integrated devices with its features. Naturally, it offers an OpenVPN configuration profile, making it easier for you to install a VPN on your router.
While SurfShark may not have as many servers, it does provide its own unique DNS for each VPN server. This private DNS can keep your Alexa and other IoT devices very safe from any hacks or privacy breaches.
- 3200+ Servers in 65 Countries
- Standard AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2 protocols
- Whitelist and Cleanweb feature
- Multihop mode to stream the content in high quality without buffering.
- Static IP Addresses available
- Reliable Kill Switch
- No Log Policy
- Unlimited device connections.
- 7 Days free trial & 30 days refund policy
CyberGhost is yet another excellent VPN that can keep your Amazon and other IoT devices safe from hacking/tracking. It also works very well on Amazing FireStick, and performs great on all generations of Amazon Echo devices.
Setting up the OpenVPN configuration profile on your router is quite easy with CyberGhost. It provides military-grade AES 256-bit encryption as well, protecting your network traffic from being leaked or hacked.
CyberGhost is a power-packed VPN with dedicated streaming, gaming, and torrenting servers. Premium speeds with WireGuard & superior security (AES-256) with its headquarters in Romania (privacy-friendly). Not all servers are owned and their auditing policy is not frequent & lacks transparency. Also, it requires an additional subscription for advanced features like dedicated IP, NoSpy Servers, etc
5. Private Internet Access (PIA)
Private Internet Access is a great VPN to protect all of your IoT devices. It offers high-speed VPN servers that are great for streaming, torrenting, and gaming. It can easily be set up on your routers for use with Amazon Echo and other IoT devices.
Private Internet Access (PIA) also offers exclusive DNS servers, providing you with more security against all online threats on all of your devices.
- 20000+ Servers in 77+ Countries
- Unblocks Hulu, Amazon Prime, Show Time, and other streaming services.
- Standard Encryptions for enhanced privacy
- P2P Torrenting support (unlimited bandwidth)
- Bonus features for chrome with additional settings
- 10 Simultaneous device connection
- 30 Days Full Refund Policy
Known Issues When Using VPN with Alexa
There have been multiple reports about some issues Alexa runs into when connected to a VPN. One of the most common issues that you may find is when Alexa shows you the red ring and says “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding right now.”
This generally happens when Amazon flags your IP address. It can be fixed by simply connecting to a different IP address that is provided by the VPN, changing servers is also an easy fix. If that doesn’t help, refreshing your internet connection or turning the router on and off may help.
While Alexa may deal with issues every now and then due to the use of a VPN, many users have been able to successfully use a VPN with Alexa for more than a year now.
Amazon’s Echo and other IoT devices generally run on unsecured networks. This is not a nice thing, as there have been many hacks and privacy breaches on Alexa in the past. It also isn’t safe to trust Alexa, as it is always listening to all audio.
Thankfully, most of the security concerns can be dealt with by the use of a VPN. While Alexa may not allow in-built VPN applications or native support for VPNs, you can connect Alexa to a VPN through your router. This will keep your connection and network traffic encrypted.
Most premium VPNs also offer additional security features like private DNS, obfuscated servers, RAM-Only servers, and much more. Your security and privacy will definitely be safer with the use of one, especially on Amazon’s Echo and other IoT devices.