Alexa is back online after a two-hour outage that left users across Europe unable to access Amazon’s smart assistant and other devices
- Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa crashed across Europe from 07:00 GMT today
- There were over 8,000 reports of problems with device during two-hour outage
- Many users said they were unable to wake their voice-activated Amazon Echo
- Amazon has not confirmed cause of issue, which also affected its Fire TV Stick
Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is back online after a two-hour outage across Europe left users unable to wake or access their smart devices this morning.
According to Down Detector, a website that monitors such issues, there were more than 8,000 reports of problems with the smart devices.
Issues first began to surface at around 07:00 GMT but were resolved by about 09:00 GMT.
Amazon has so far not confirmed the cause of the problem.
When issuing voice commands to Alexa devices, users were either met with silence or received messages saying ‘something went wrong’.
Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is back online after a two-hour outage across Europe left users unable wake or access their smart devices this morning (stock image)
Others saw a ring of red lights and a message to try again later.
The issue affected Amazon’s range of Echo speakers as well as the retail giant’s Fire TV Stick and Amazon Alexa app for smartphones.
People across the UK complained about the problems, while there were also reports of customers in Germany and Italy being affected.
Angry Alexa users took to social media to complain about their devices.
Tony Sibley tweeted: ‘Trying to find my light switches this morning. #AlexaDown’.
Another user, Chloe Hardman, wrote: ‘Alexa is down and won’t turn our alarm off.’
Some said their Echo Dot did not work properly even after a hard reset.
The virtual assistant is built into millions of devices available in the UK, including smart speakers and home hubs, which can be used to control appliances around the home.
An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘This morning we had an issue that impacted some Alexa customers’ ability to interact with the service.
‘The Alexa service is now operating normally.’
Angry Alexa users took to social media to complain about their devices (pictured)
Tony Sibley tweeted: ‘Trying to find my light switches this morning. #AlexaDown’ (pictured)
In the UK, issues with the Amazon Alexa devices were mostly reported in London (pictured)
Jake Moore, global cyber security adviser at ESET, said: ‘Although it is difficult to predict whether or not this is a cyber attack on Amazon’s servers, it does pose the question of whether or not we are putting too much emphasis on smart technology in our homes.
‘Cyber attacks are still possible despite the increasingly sophisticated anti-malware technology that exists, and therefore we must never become complacent against the possibility of such a hack which can dramatically effect large numbers of people.
‘Once we put all our eggs into one technological basket, there becomes one simple point of failure that can have a huge impact in a smart home and therefore our daily lives.
‘Using smart devices to control lights, heating and other areas of a home is extremely tempting but it is advised to always know if the backup “old fashioned” switches are still applicable.’
WHY ARE PEOPLE CONCERNED OVER PRIVACY WITH AMAZON’S ALEXA DEVICES?
Amazon devices have previously been activated when they’re not wanted – meaning the devices could be listening.
Millions are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that their conversations are being heard.
Amazon devices rely on microphones listening out for a key word, which can be triggered by accident and without their owner’s realisation.
The camera on the £119.99 ($129) Echo Spot, which doubles up as a ‘smart alarm’, will also probably be facing directly at the user’s bed.
The device has such sophisticated microphones it can hear people talking from across the room – even if music is playing. A hack by British security researcher Mark Barnes saw 2015 and 2016 versions of the Echo turned into a live microphone.
Fraudsters could then use this live audio feed to collect sensitive information from the device.