" />
Mobile

How to prevent the tabloids (or your mates) from hacking your phone’s voicemail

How to prevent the tabloids (or your mates) from hacking your phone’s voicemail

Mobile phone operators in Ireland have begun warning customers to secure their voicemail passcodes, following the phone News of the World phone hacking scandal in the UK.

In a series of text messages being sent to mobile phone customers this week the major service providers, Vodafone, O2, Three, and eMobile are advising customers to change their voicemail passcodes to prevent unauthorised access to personal messages.

Telephone operators 1952

Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr

One text message being sent by O2 to its customers reads,
“Hi, to ensure you keep access to your voicemail secure, dial 173 from your mobile to change your passcode. Visit o2.ie for further information. From O2.”

While things are more secure these days, back in the day when the phone hacking was taking place when pretty much all you had to do to access someone’s voicemail messages was spoof their phone number (often you didn’t even need a passcode).  But even when passcodes were introduced a few years ago many phone users did not, and still have not, changed them from the default ‘0000’.

So, let’s say you’ve been up to mischief (or you just don’t want your mates getting access to your voicemails) and want to change your password, how do you do it?

According to O2’s latest advice, which was updated less than a week ago, the first thing you will need to do is change your voicemail’s passcode.  By default when you set up a new phone this code is set to ‘0000’.

Changing your passcode literally could not be easier, simply call 173 (Vodafone Ireland and O2 Ireland) or 171 (3, Meteor, and eMobile) from you mobile and key in your new passcode.  Once you are happy with your new code press # (with Vodafone you will have to press ‘# 2’ to confirm the new code).

In the UK call 121 (Vodafone), 190 (O2), 123 (3 and Orange) or 222 on T-mobile.  If all else fails press and hold ‘1’ which will take you to your voicemail inbox and follow the instructions there.

O2 advises you chose a random set of digits between 4 and 9 characters in length, which only you know, and to change your passcode on a regular basis.

“Change it fairly regularly: Don’t use the same password for 10 years in a row. Every so often, change your passwords. Again, this is a personal thing, but the longer you keep the same password, the greater the chance someone could guess it, share it and use the information against you if they’re motivated enough. “

When picking your passcode don’t use numbers which would be easy to guess, such as ‘1234’ or a birth date or wedding anniversary.

This unprecedented security measure has came about following a request by the Data Protection Commissioner who contacted the major operators last week.  And according to the Commissioner, “At the end of this process it will no longer be possible to access a person’s voicemail using a default password.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mobile
@pdscott

Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

More in Mobile

Chatbots, mobile, phone, marketing

The way to your customers’ wallets is through their mobile phones

Zac LavalSeptember 18, 2017
iphone x

iPhone X facial recognition is another example of why Apple is essential to hardware market: opinion

Ben AllenSeptember 16, 2017
mobile world congress

America’s first Mobile World Congress: what to expect in San Francisco

Omar ElorfalySeptember 12, 2017
action sports technology

Action sports are continuing to take tech in their own direction

Ben AllenAugust 30, 2017
holiday planning apps

Best apps to simplify your next holiday

Nicolas WaddellAugust 23, 2017

United For Iran launches app to protect Iranian children from sexual abuse

Sam Brake GuiaAugust 21, 2017
endangered species animojis

Animal welfare groups enlist animojis to spread endangered species awareness

Nicolas WaddellAugust 18, 2017
smartphone doctor hospital tech

Are smartphones the future of medicine?

Daniel SanchezAugust 15, 2017
From Dating to Sexting: The Stats Behind Technology’s Effect on Love Life

From dating to sexting: the stats behind technology’s effect on love life

Ben AllenAugust 11, 2017