Information Security Awareness Update: Cell Phone Hacking – What You Need to Know

Coral Gables (August 23, 2011) — Phone hacking has been a hot topic in the news lately, but just what happened and how can you protect yourself? The recent news scandal actually involved hacking into the voicemail of various individuals. Cell phones or cellular signals were not directly compromised; it was the voicemail associated with the cell phone number that was breached. Voicemail was introduced during the mid-1980s when users would dial a number to retrieve their messages. Since cell phones had limited network coverage and short battery life, providers offered customers the ability to access messages remotely from another phone. To do this, a customer would call the cell phone number or a generic remote access number. When connected to the voicemail service, the customer would press a key such as * or # and enter a personal identification number (PIN). For many years these voicemail accounts were configured with a default four-digit PIN such as 1234, 0000 or 3333. Customers were expected to change their PIN, but in practice very few really did. This presented unscrupulous individuals with the opportunity to simply call the number of the targeted individual and, if the target did not answer, the caller would enter the default PIN and “hack” into the target’s messages. Today voicemail hacking should not be quite that simple, but you may still be exposed. To read the complete tip, including steps to protect your cell phone information, please click here.

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