Amazon recently added the ability for users to unlock their smart lock-equipped doors using Alexa. This is a useful feature, but raises some concerns about intruders yelling through windows to tell Alexa to open your door. Is this an issue you should be concerned about?

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For starters, the unlock feature for Alexa includes an extra security measure. When you tell Alexa to open the door, you must also say the four-digit voice code out loud to confirm. So even if an attacker can successfully yell through the Alexa window, they will need this unique code to actually bypass your lock.

But I wanted to see if Alexa could hear me through the windows. I installed Echo near my glass patio door and got to work.

As you can see in the photo above, I installed the Echo near the patio door, but not next to it — realistically, in most homes, the Echo will not be right in front of the window, but rather to the side somewhere.

I went outside, closed the door to the patio, and started yelling “Alexa” so many times that the neighbors probably thought some girl named Alexa kicked me out of the house, and I made one last attempt to somehow win back her.

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Alexa didn’t have that, though. I even wrapped my hands around the glass to concentrate the sound, but that didn’t work either — double glass worked perfectly. It wasn’t until I moved Echo 3-4 feet right in front of the patio door that I finally started to see results. I was able to launch Alexa about 70% of the time, and was even able to launch a couple of basic commands like «What’s the weather?» And «What time is it?» — although he found it more difficult to decipher commands than simply responding to hearing with his own name.

Now it’s time for the moment of truth — will I be able to open my own front door while yelling at Alexa through the window? It took me a few tries to make it hurt, but I eventually got it to work. Though it would have been harder if my wife wasn’t there to let me know that Alexa did hear me right. Otherwise, I’d have to rely on the LED ring on top of the Echo and just guess if it worked.

So can someone activate your Echo from outside? Yes it is possible. If you have Alexa sitting next to a window, or maybe if you have single pane glass (or leave cracked windows open), it will be easier for you to manipulate her from the outside. But most of the time it just won’t work.

Also, even if someone wants to unlock your smart lock using Alexa, they will need a voice code to do so. So it would have been a futile effort from the start.

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