The scandal surrounding the News of The World reporters and various phone hackings has been big news across the globe in recent weeks. As the trouble continues we have an article looking at cell phone spoofing studied during the Rupert Murdoch scandal.
With all the stories surfacing of reporters hacking into voice mail accounts of various people, should you be worried it could happen to you? David Strom of ReadWriteWeb is reporting that phone hacking is not exactly hard to achieve. The hacking which was committed by the reporters was minimal but obviously still wrong.
Allegedly some reporters asked their shift editor to make calls to the intended victim using a phone spoofing service. These services are easy to set up using any specified caller ID, and once a number is known it can obtain your voicemail. This works because the majority of cell phones allow access to the voicemail without any PIN number or password.
Three of the US cell phone carriers work this way except Verizon which requires users to have a PIN number to access voicemail accounts. Before many people kept their cell phone numbers guarded as plans used to cost a lot more. But now as call plans have many cell phone to cell phone minutes bundled in, more people share their numbers via business cards or email signatures.
To actually orchestrate a cell phone spoofing is relatively easy as there are a number of sites which offer the service, some even for free. First you sign up and then dial an access number to the service, before entering the number you want to hack. The caller ID number is then displayed, with many services having simple voice instructions. After your call is finished the recipient will see the caller ID which you entered instead of the calling number of your phone.
If someone does manage to hack into your voicemail there is not much chance you would know unless they delete messages. Many services allow a message to be marked as unread after it has been listened to.
For more on the history of caller ID spoofing click here. If you are concerned about your voicemail make sure you use a PIN, and try to have something which won’t be easily worked out by someone who may be trying to access it.