Be careful of unintentionally ordering Christmas presents via your Amazon Alexa, warns cyber security expert

Parents could unwittingly order unwanted presents via their virtual assistants [Photo: Getty]

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but parents have potentially uncovered a pitful associated with home virtual assistants that could make Christmas shopping even more difficult.

An expert in cyber security has issued a warning to mums and dads that they could unwittingly order Christmas gifts by discussing potential present ideas in front of their Alexa and Google Assistant devices.

Matt Horan of C3IA solutions explained to The Sun that virtual assistants could interpret personal conversations as actual commands, which could lead to the devices ordering the products online.

“With Christmas approaching I can foresee many people answering doors to delivery drivers with packages that the person knows nothing about – and which their ‘home helper’ has ordered for them,” he said.

Though we marvelled at the ability of virtual assistants to give us a helping hand with the shopping, turns out it could be more of a hindrance.

“Last year these virtual assistants were enormously popular Christmas presents and this year they might be ordering the families’ presents for them.”

So what to people to do stop their home helps going on a spending spree?

“The most sensible [approach] is to disable the voice purchasing element of the device, or at least set up a passcode,” Horan advises.

But you can also turn the devices off when talking about potential presents.

The good news is, that if you do end up taking delivery of something you’d not actually meant to order, you can return the items for free on Amazon.

Parents could be getting unexpected deliveries thanks to their virtual assistants [Photo: Getty]

In other parenting/tech news, earlier this year it was revealed that parents are shunning the baby name Alexa.

Back in 2016 the moniker was the UK’s 21st most popular girl’s name, but it has seen a plunge in parents choosing it thanks to mums-and-dads-to-be not wanting their little one to share the same name as Amazon’s digital assistant.

And earlier this year it was revealed that Amazon Alexa was set to help new mums with their breastfeeding struggles.

Back in March, Public Health England (PHE) launched a new tool, Breastfeeding Friend, that is available through the virtual assistant.

If new mums ask the chatbot specific questions, it can give advice on topics such as latching and frequency of feeding, and the answers will be provided tailored to the age of the baby.

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