Illegally accessing people's mobiles is surprisingly easy
Published 07/07/2011 | 05:00
IF you leave your front door unlocked the chances are your house is more likely to be burgled.
And leaving your mobile lying about or failing to take simple precautions is nothing short of an invitation to the phone hacker.
Many people don't bother to change the default settings on their voicemail when they buy a new phone -- and the manufacturer's four-digit pincode can be a simple number like 0000 or 9999.
In order for the hacker to gain access to a user's voicemail he must first have the user's mobile phone number.
If, for example, the phone number he is hacking starts with 087, he then simply adds a 5 and the rest of the number and is directed to the mailbox service.
By pressing the hash key and provided the factory code setting has not been changed, the hacker can then get into the user's personal mailbox.
That can allow the hacker to get into your mailbox, access your messages and, as in the case with Milly Dowler's phone, even delete messages.
While the latest generation mobiles and smartphones are more hi-tech and sophisticated, their security depends on the measures their owners take to protect them.
Do the practical things -- change your pin code for voice messages and install a pass code if you have a smartphone.
Finally don't leave your phone out of your sight and make sure an unused Bluetooth application is turned off.
Niall Duffy is a consultant in communications and crisis management with Risk Management International Ltd