I can hack into your voice mail

Just like hackers at a now-defunct British tabloid, I can access your cellphone's voice mail. Here's how to prevent it.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 19, 2011 2:05PM

This post comes from Dan Schointuch at partner site Money Talks News.

 

With a method probably similar to that used by hackers at News Corp.'s British tabloid News of the World, I can hack into your cellphone's voice mail. All I need to know is your phone number.

 

It works like this: If you want to access your own voice mail, you can simply dial your own number from your phone, press * or #, and your voice mails will start playing. So, if I want to access your voice mail, all I have to do is make the phone company think I'm calling from your number, and your messages will start playing for me.

 

Services like SpoofCard make it all too easy to do just that. About $5 buys 25 minutes of talk time, with a twist. Customers can set the number that shows up on caller ID to whatever they want. To hack your voice mail, I'd simply tell SpoofCard to fake your phone number for me. Then, when I call your number with the service, your phone company assumes I'm you and starts playing your messages. Post continues after video.

Fortunately, preventing this kind of hack on your voice mail is as simple as changing your voice mail preferences and setting up a password or PIN. Simply follow the not-as-complex-as-they-look instructions for your cell provider.

 

AT&T

  1. Press and hold 1 to call into the voice mail system from your wireless device.
  2. Press * to skip to the main menu.
  3. Press 4 for personal options.
  4. Press 2 for administrative options.
  5. Press 1 for password options.
  6. Press 1 to turn password on or off.
  7. Press 2 to turn password on.
  8. When prompted, enter your four- to 15-digit password, then press the # key.

Sprint

  1. Access your voice mail account from your Sprint phone.
  2. Once in the main menu, choose "change personal options."
  3. Next, choose "administrative options."
  4. You will hear "skip passcode is currently turned on." To turn it off, follow the prompts.
  5. The passcode you originally created will be played to you. Be sure to remember it, as you will need to enter it to gain access to your voice mail in the future.

T-Mobile

To turn off/on your voice mail password security, follow these steps:

  1. Call your voice mailbox from your mobile phone by pressing and holding the 1 key or by dialing 123.
  2. Once you arrive at your voice mailbox, press the * key to ensure you are in the main menu area.
  3. To access the password security menu, press the 5 key.
  4. To toggle your password on or off, press the 2 key.

Verizon

Verizon is the one major cell carrier in the U.S. that requires you enter your PIN every time you access your voice mail. In fact, you have to jump through a little hoop if you want things set differently. So odds are, if you're a Verizon customer, you're already safe from this kind of an attack on your voice mail.

 

Change your default PIN

But you're only as safe as your personal identification number. If you've never set up a PIN for your voice mail account, you might have a default one, and anyone could dial in from any number, use the default PIN, and listen to your messages. To keep your voice mail private, you should set up a PIN or change your default PIN as soon as you can.

 

If you set your PIN to something simple, like your address or birthday, you're not completely at risk, but you are close. Try to use something unique that has no connection to your personal life. It doesn't have to be hard to remember -- something like 7676 works well -- but unrelated to you. Taking this simple step can help ensure your private messages stay that way.

 

More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

21Comments
Jul 19, 2011 7:44PM
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I do indeed have passwords sets on all my voice mail accounts, just because.  I can't imagine why anyone would hack into it though.  Talk about boring. 
Jul 20, 2011 12:40PM
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Mine will all say the same thing: Tried to call..why don't you ever answer your cell? 
Jul 20, 2011 1:30PM
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the only time I use my cell phone is to see what time it is.

Jul 20, 2011 4:53AM
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I don't get understand why people feel the need to be so connected. to cell phones. Certainly cell phones do serve  a purpose, but they  habit forming. Well I suspose everyone is addicted to something,

Jul 20, 2011 2:00PM
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First..I totally agree with Old Man 76, Half the time I'm either at work or home..so there's a phone is either place. and to elaborate a bit...I'm totally against if I have kids giving my 8yr old a cell phone. I didn't need 1 20 yrs ago..and I can't imagine there would be a time (hopefully) we're they would be somewhere either I'm not with them..or another adult responsible isn't.

Only reason I think people should be concerned with the hacking..once hackers get into 1 thing they try to get into *everything* I-phones etc probably have more credit card info from buying games and banking info from mobile banking etc. If its computer based in anyway..you have to watch out and not lose your info. Gone are the days where its just kids testing their talents in mom's basement. These people are from different countries..different governements..you name it. Even the mob peddles in information trafficking. We're screwed. Just turn the damn things off. :-D

Jul 20, 2011 3:44PM
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I miss the days of old!  life was simple sweet and cheap with out all this junk. yes I own some nice gadgets. But they do not rule my life.
Jul 20, 2011 1:17PM
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Time for another reminder: The battle over privacy is OVER. The consumer lost. Corporations/Goverment won.This happend over 20 years ago. Get over it. How's your credit rating?! LOL! People are so funny.

Jul 20, 2011 6:06PM
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Uh no. About half of the phones i have had needed me to type in a password to get to my voicemails. Of course If someone really wants to know about how my kitties are doing or the zit on my butt thats just fine too.
Jul 20, 2011 5:53PM
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It's sad that people would rather hear a voicemail from someone's mom rather than getting a life
Jul 20, 2011 8:07PM
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An internet phone app, and a bit of code, can run through all four digit PINs in a few hours.

Why spend $5 for a SpoofCard when a high school computer whiz can do it for you for the fun of it?

 

In other words, this free advice is nearly worth the price.

Jul 20, 2011 3:59PM
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Hack into my voicemail all you want...I delete each message after I hear it.
Jul 20, 2011 5:49PM
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I don't know, I don't feel compelled to have a cell phone, but I do find very convenient when I do need one.

 

It sure helped one day when driving home from work and the lady in a pickup truck next to me slammed into another young Lady pulling out from a stop sign----at 60 mph.

 

It helped get the paramedics there much sooner, and the young Lady called her boyfriend, whose car she was driving to let him know she was on her way to the hospital

 

Just because you have one doesn't mean you got to have it stuck in your ear all the time, but on the other hand, some people just have a lot to say---apparently, I'm not one of them.

 

I just wish people in general would have more respect for everyone around them, in public places and not have LOUD conversations, just take it outside until your done---that's all.

Jul 20, 2011 6:04PM
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Come on, the average person has got zero to hide, if you want to hack my voice mail, knock yourself out. I am not going to go thru this process of setting up a pass code. I can not imagine how knowing when Babba's birthday is can help anybody out there. It's like this, if a hacker wants your info, he is going to have your info. The best place to hide is in plain site.
Jul 20, 2011 4:09PM
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To OldMan 076:

I respectfully disagree with your post.

 

If you had this type of technology when you were young, you would have embraced it just like this generation.  Turning on a call phone only when you want to make out-going calls is, in my humble opinion, being just plain ignorant for the point of being ignorant...and trying to prove a point that "I don't need this stuff...".

 

I hear your argument all the time from the older generation in my family....except when they're stuck on the side of the Interstate with a flat tire.  Then, it's "the greatest invention ever".  And now, the old people ALWAYS have their cell phones turned on...

 

Don't get me wrong, I have the greatest admiration for older Americans.  Just try to be honest with yourself when it somes to this stuff, that's all!

 

Jul 20, 2011 5:35PM
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Just a Brief Comment

If you're important enough to warrant the "EYES" of the news/media, you should either know how to protect yourself, or at the very least have someone around you helping protect you and your "Momentousness"...

Jul 20, 2011 4:50PM
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Go ahead and try. The only person that ever leaves me a voice mail is either a church person or one of my teenage friends cause I missed their call. I agree with Ken45. Doing this absolutley pointless and timewasting.

Jul 20, 2011 4:19PM
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How is this considered "hacking"?

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Dec 29, 2011 5:33PM
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Jul 20, 2011 4:15PM
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dude... Sprint have the option to setup your password. With that even when you call from your device, it will ask for password... why give incorrect information. Do you work for Verizon?
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