Phone hacking has been in the headlines a lot recently and so I thought I’d share a few simple tips on how to protect your phone.

In the cases where answerphone messages have been accessed and listened to, the first thing you need to do is set a PIN on your voicemail services, via your service provider.

Most mobile phone users are able to access their voicemail from any phone simply by dialing a set number, often based on your mobile number.

Once done, usually you are prompted for a PIN, so make sure this is set and most definitely changed from the standard PIN given when the phone was first registered.

The next step is to protect your PIN from theft

  • Never give anyone your PIN
  • Change your PIN from the default factory settings
  • Don’t use memorable dates such as birthdays for your PIN

These first simple steps will prevent someone dialling in to your voicemail and guessing your PIN to gain access.

The next issue is to prevent someone from hijacking your account in order to reset your passwords, re-direct your details to a new email address, reset your PIN, etc

Most perpetrators will contact your service provider and, with some basic personal information such as your date of birth and your home address, can pretend to be you in order to have your PIN reset.

  • Add extra security on your account with keywords and custom questions that only you could possibly know the answer to.
  • Ensure your mobile is never out of your possession to prevent people accessing your voicemail and account directly from your phone.
  • If you have a smart phone, ensure you are careful about opening any email attachments that may contact spyware which could allow unauthorised access to your phone.

In addition, if you have ever backed-up your mobile to your laptop, you must now ensure that you apply an adequate level of security measures to protect the information now stored on your laptop as well as your phone.

The main thing is to check your voicemail regularly to ensure your PIN has not been changed and act immediately if you think something is wrong, such as late arrival of bills, or lack of communication from your service provider via email, etc.

As always, stay alert and stay safe.

Al x

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