This came up last week in a social conference call I was having with coworkers. Fooling around I said “OK Google, turn off the office light”, and off went my coworkers office light.
This got me thinking about the threat to our security that Smart Assistants pose to conference calls when working from home. Most informed people will turn off their Smart Assistant before starting a conference call. You are in control of what your Smart Assistant hears and how it responds during your call.
However, as in my coworker example, you have no control of what other participants of the call have done with their Smart Assistants. Whether accidental triggers or intentional activation of the Smart Assistant, they are a threat to your call.
If the meeting will contain sensitive or confidential information ask the host to switch off the computer audio options and use call in audio only. This may not offer full protection of the audio conversation, especially if a participant has their phone on speaker, but it will reduce your attack vector.
Make it part of the meeting notes or agenda to remind people to power off their Smart Assistants. If you’re like me and security paranoid, the best method of power off is to take the power plug out the socket, do not rely on device power switches or mute buttons.