Twitter erupts as O2 accused of sharing phone numbers

By Posted 25 Jan 2012, 11:44

There are often concerns how our personal data is protected as we rely on the internet and our cell phones more than ever. There are often security breaches with hackers gaining access to various websites, and now Twitter erupts as O2 is accused of sharing user’s phone numbers.

O2 customers reacted furiously this morning after it emerged that when they visit a website via their smartphone, the carrier sends the site their phone number. This serious security flaw means that any malicious website can get hold of your number and use it with a phishing attack or other scam.

According to an article at Mobile News the operator is putting in a customer’s number via header information when they visit a website. The security flaw was first found by user Lewis Peckover, and the number appears in the header information so the website can display the page to suit the user’s smartphone an OS.

This data is not usually recorded by a website, but could be spotted by an administrator of the site, and can then be easily be used for malicious purposes. A similar problem is also affecting GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile, but it hasn’t been found on Everything Everywhere, Three, and Vodafone.

O2 has said they are looking into the matter and added that “security is our top most priority“, but will come as little comfort to affected users. The problem was still found to be happening this morning when using a Nokia Lumia 800 on the carrier. Update: It appears that O2 has now closed the loop hole.

Are you concerned about this problem?