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Phone Hacking and You: How to Protect Your Phone

Mon 18 Jul, 2011 // Firstnumber Team
phone hacking, voicemail

Following the recent discovery that a number of high profile tabloids and newspapers had resorted to hacking the mobile phones of celebrities, public figures, and even the voicemails belonging to victims of crime, the issue of phone hacking has never been more important.

While most of us will probably never have our mobiles, voicemails or any other devices hacked by a newspaper, the fallout of this scandal has meant that more and more people are considering how they can protect themselves and their private information. This is a very important subject that often gets overlooked, so make sure that you are well protected by making sure that your phone is 100% secure with these tips.

1. Use Your PIN

PIN, as we know, stands for Personal Identification Number, and many people use one everyday when taking money from their bank accounts. Mobile phones voicemails are always given a default PIN for voicemail access, such as 1234. While you may never have used a PIN to access your mobile's voicemail, they are used when someone wants to remotely access their messages, from work or or somewhere else, and allow the user to a]listen to their voicemails if they don't have their phone with them. This is a fantastic idea in principle, but this method can also be used by other people in order to listen to your private messages, because if someone finds out your PIN, they will be able to gain access to your voicemail. The first thing you should do if you want to protect your phone is to set a PIN to a number that you will remember, and that no one else will know. This is very easy to do, and depending on your phone company and your handset, it won't take too long either.

2. Know the Tricks

One fact that many mobile phone owners don't realise is that it's possible for anybody to access your voicemail – just by calling your phone. One tactic that hackers have been known to use is dial the mobile phone number they want to hack, and once they are asked to leave a message, they hit the * key – this takes them straight to your voicemail menu, which will then ask them for your PIN, and if you've still got a default PIN, then they will be able to listen to and delete any of your voicemails.

3. Catch the Hackers Out

There are a number of security measures in place to help protect you against your voicemails being hacked, and one of these is is to sign up for texts that will notify you if any outside party tries to gain access to your voicemails. These notifications would take the form of text messages, and they would be not only able to tell you that someone had attempted to access your voicemails, but also whether they used the right PIN, or changed your PIN at the same time. If you do sign up for this service, make sure you call your operator when you receive such a text to see if the message is genuine.

Hacking sounds frightening, but it doesn't have to ruin your life, just make sure you protect yourself and your phone using these methods, and you will have nothing to worry about.

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