The furore concerning the hacking of mobile phone voicemail accounts took a tragic turn this week with the news that the mobile phone of Millie Dowler was hacked after she had been reported missing and also mobile and landline phones of some of the families of some of the 7/7 bombing victims. Obviously, there are more victims of this heinous practice to be made public and time will tell just how low some will stoop to obtain a ‘news’ story.
Hacking mobile voicemail accounts is not as difficult as one might think. There are only a handful of service providers in the UK and by putting the first 5 digits of the mobile telephone number into the Internet is a simple way to establish which provider the hacker is dealing with. This is weapon number one in the Hackers arsenal.
The main lapse in security (and weapon number 2 in the Hackers arsenal) however is actually down to YOU, the user of the phone. When you receive a mobile phone the PIN number to retrieve voicemail messages is set to a default number, which can be 0000, or 9011 etc depending upon the service provider issuing you the telephone number. Its a simple matter for the hacker to utilise such to gain access to the voicemail to hear and delete your messages and change any settings that he wishes.
Change your voicemail PIN immediately you receive your phone to a 4 digit number easily remembered by you and, if you feel the need, change it regularly.
Additionally, do NOT use your Mothers Maiden name, favourite Pets name, your date of birth or part of your phone number on your mobile phone account. Anyone who has a basic knowledge of you can use these to access your main account. With a little thought, you can make it impossible for anyone to access your personal messages or telephone account.
A lot of the publicity surrounding this shocking story is thrusting the spotlight heavily on the private investigator industry, as a reputable, legitimate provider of private detective services, Insight does not believe this was the work of a trading private investigator, more the work of a hacker under instruction from the media company in question.