Opinion Articles

Friday, July 15, 2011

How safe is your voicemail... and how safe is your phone?

Mark Bridge writes:

In this week’s podcast feature we’re joined by Jack Wraith, chief executive for the Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum and chairman of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum.

He talks to Iain Graham about the current state of voicemail security and the improvements to mobile security we’ve seen in the last few years.

As Jack explains, the original process used for ‘voicemail hacking’ - listening to someone else’s messages on their answering service - is no longer possible. In the past, voicemail was automatically set up to allow customers to hear their messages remotely. You’d generally ring your own number, wait to hear your own voicemail answering message and then enter a 4-digit personal identification number. The big problem was that voicemail was set up with a default 4-digit PIN code on each network. (For example, all Vodafone handsets were preset to 3333). Although you were told to change your PIN, you didn’t need to. So, if you wanted to listen to someone else’s messages and knew what network they were using, you also knew what their default voicemail PIN was.

Fortunately, the process was changed several years ago. Exact details will vary between UK mobile networks… but the biggest change is that there’s no such thing as a default PIN for remote access. If you’re setting up a PIN code, you’ll need to make one up yourself – and you’ll often find that security features can only be changed from the mobile phone itself.

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Author: The Fonecast
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