The Guardian newspaper has returned to the subject of voicemail hacking this week.
In January 2007 a News of the World reporter was jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff. Last July, The Guardian said that News Group Newspapers (publishers of the News of the World and The Sun) had paid out more than £1 million in out-of-court settlements over private investigators hacking into the mobile phone voicemail messages of other public figures.
A report from the Press Complaints Commission later that year said it found no evidence that it was materially misled by the News of the World in 2007 and no evidence that phone message hacking was ongoing.
The Guardian now says its latest evidence contradicts the idea that only a 'handful' of victims were affected. Its latest report quotes O2 as saying 'about 40' of its customers' voicemail accounts had been accessed from phone numbers used by the investigator and reporter involved in the original 'hacking' case. It says Vodafone found a similar number and Orange found 45 customers. The phone numbers involved were passed to the mobile companies by the police, although T-Mobile and 3 are reported as saying they were never contacted.
The newspaper also says Scotland Yard has confirmed that the reporter and investigator had a list of voicemail PIN codes belonging to 91 different people.
Although voicemail security has been improved by a number of mobile companies since these issues were first publicised, we'd still recommend that anyone using voicemail changes their four-digit PIN code from the default setting.