Revealed: how to hack into a mobile phone
Sunday 25 July 1999
In an astonishing breach of security BT Cellnet has handed out, over the telephone, a confidential pin number allowing the recipient to listen in to the confidential messages of any of the five million customers on their network.
The Independent on Sunday has that pin number and yesterday was able to hack into the message systems of 15 people. Their permission was obtained in advance.
Having done this we contacted BT Cellnet to inform them of the breach of security. Despite repeated requests it proved impossible to speak to anyone in authority although we explained the seriousness of our request. We were told to phone back on Monday.
Our informant obtained the vital password by informing the company that she had lost her phone but was expecting an important message.
Once given the pin number all she had to do was to phone, tap in the secret code and listen to the messages. But because the code is non-specific it also enables her to retrieve the messages of everyone else on the Cellnet network. All she needs to know is their number.
This is done by calling the person's mobile phone number when the phone is switched off and then entering the magic pin number followed by two other numbers.
This violation of personal security can potentially affect all of the company's five million customers. The last security breach to affect mobile phone companies was criminals "cloning" phones to make calls for free; it cost the mobile phone companies millions of pounds. It was to tighten security that old-style analogue phones were replaced with digital phones which are supposedly hacker and criminal-proof.
But the ease with which message systems can be broken into indicates that digital phones are no more secure than the older version if staff are giving out sensitive information so easily.
The National Consumer Council said it was "astonishing" that the information was available to consumers and said it raised enormous questions about security and privacy.
"People could access all sorts of sensitive information this way," added a spokeswoman.
"Given the number of people who now have mobile phones, this really is very worrying and would make people think twice about relying on them."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Sophia Loren: How I rejected Cary Grant and 'pulverised' Marlon Brando with my eyes
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...