Cell phone voicemail hacking seems to be easier than one might think. Did you know that you can check your voicemail remotely? Well, so can someone else without the proper precautions. You may be surprised by just how vulnerable you are-and what a simple solution there is to avoid it.
About Cell Phone Voicemail Hacking
Cell phone voicemail hacking gained attention after Paris Hilton's phone was hacked into, messages were listened to, and numbers from her phone book were stolen. It can happen to almost anyone, though. Suspicious girlfriends and boyfriends chat online about how easy it is to trick the service provider into thinking that a voicemail check is coming from that particular phone. You just have to spoof the caller ID and there are even services that do this for you!
According to a Sophos.com article from July 9, 2009, there have been claims that some British journalists have hacked into the voicemail of public figures such as Gwyneth Paltrow and George Michael, in order to glean juicy information for tabloid stories.
In addition to people just listening to your messages, they could delete important information. If they wanted to leave another message in its place giving you the wrong information, they could feasibly do that, too. Voicemail hacking is not legal, but unfortunately it still occurs. Consequences vary based on where the offense occurred.
What Can You Do to Avoid It?
The easiest thing you can do is opt for a password in order to check your messages. Many people choose to opt out of the extra step in order to quickly and conveniently set up and/or check their voicemail. However, hackers can easily spoof the system and dial right in to your voicemail without that passcode intact.
Some cell phone companies make you pay for voicemail options that would even allow you to turn off the password. Others are researching ways to make voicemail less easily hacked into and have sent out notices about the problem.
If you are unsure of how to set up your voicemail passcode or you would like to reset it, contact the customer service department of your cell phone service provider. In some cases, you may be able to find out what you need to know online, so you could check there first and avoid potential hold times. It may be as simple as hitting a single button while you're in the process of checking your voicemail.
What Voicemail Hacking Means
There are more risks to cell phone security than your contacts and what you're doing this weekend. If your voicemail can be hacked, what about your other information, particularly the types of information often stored on smartphones? If you bank or check email on your phone, you could be at risk for accidentally giving away even more sensitive information if someone hacks into your phone. Voila! Easy identity theft.
According to a July 10, 2009 article from Detica.com, one solution would be to increase security measures on the phones themselves, perhaps in the form of a program that clears the phone's memory once a wrong password is entered too many times. As the article says, "Voicemail hacking is just the tip of the mobile security iceberg."
It's easy to protect yourself from cell phone voicemail hacking. You probably have password protection on your computer (or at least your email), so why not extend that to your cell phone voicemail if you haven't already done so? As hacking technology progresses, that may not be enough, but cell phone companies are aware of the threat and are working to prevent its occurrence.