While you might think that little device in your pocket is secure, the truth is that it’s not. Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones (until today), resigned abruptly, the latest professional casualty in the growing phone hacking scandal taking place at News Corp. Rebekah Brooks also resigned from her position as CEO of News International, News Corp.’s UK unit. More on these departures here.
Phone hacking has certainly garnered a lot of attention in the press over the past few weeks as News of the World brought the practice to the forefront of the news. But what exactly is phone hacking and how concerned should we be?
According to Wikipedia, Phone hacking is “the practice of intercepting telephone calls or voicemail messages, often by accessing the voicemail messages of a mobile phone without the consent of the phone’s owner.”
While it sounds complex, and there is malware and spyware out there that can hijack your phone, the reality is that phone hacking like what News of the World committed is much simpler. They basically called into voicemail boxes and busted a four digit PIN code to access messages. I gather from Wikipedia and a few other sources that most people have pretty simple PIN codes – 15% of all iPhone passcodes, with 1234 and 0000.
So the lesson here is this – be smart about security. Maintain good passwords and don’t download crap that could hide a virus or malware.