Much has happened since the News of the World phone hacking scandal erupted in July (a little more than one month ago), leading to an almost immediate shutdown of the 168-year-old London-based paper. World events being what they are, time has moved on very quickly since the scandal first broke, with East Coast hurricanes and earthquakes, East African famines, and North African revolutions dominating headlines.
However until the story ends, and until the perpetrators are in jail, News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and associates will continue to be called before the British Parliament and the courts to answer further rounds of questions about their involvement. Just last week a News Corp. subsidiary Wireless Generation, lost a $27 million contract with the State of New York in the wake of the phone hacking news.
But that does not meant that this is the end of phone hacking. It’s too easy to pull off to end completely. At the offices of news wire service Reuters, renowned hacker and ‘Ghost in the Wires‘ author, Kevin Mitnick shows how little it takes to crack into someone’s phone without their knowledge:
For all the damage that has been caused to the media giant, perhaps what is most surprising is that the technology needed to hack phones is quite simple. Just sign up for a “spoofing” service, and you’re able to call a phone as if it were the owner dialing into his or her voicemail. No password is required, and you’re ready to start snooping.
The question that remains, of course, not why it’s so easy to sign up for a spoofing service, but why people need them in the first place. We’re not condoning the use of phone hacking software by anyone, but here’s a little word of advice; if you run a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate, or even if you’re a jilted lover wanting to snoop on an ex, what you’re likely to find out from voice mails is not worth the risk of getting caught in the first place.
Don’t you feel slightly creepy at how unsafe your data is?