Mobile Phone Security - The Wake Up Call

The media has been making quite a lot about the fact that a number of journalists have allegedly been `hacking' into the mobile phone voicemail services of the Royal Family.

But how have they have been doing this? Simple - like 60 per cent of the rest of us (source: Vodafone) the Royal Family hadn't changed the default PIN on their voicemail accounts.

Hang on a minute. Does your bank or credit card issuer use a default PIN for your account card?

No they don't. They issue a random PIN to each customer that can be altered at a cash machine or, sometimes, by filling a secure form in and dropping it in the mail.

I've done a bit of research and the mobile phone industry is the only industry that uses default PINs for its customer's voicemails and - to a major extent - customer's SIM cards.

Perhaps worse, the default setting on SIM cards is to have the PIN security turned off. And then they come after you for the bill if your phone gets stolen.

It strikes me that the mobile phone industry needs to get its security act together. Words like `complicit,' and `liability' spring to mind - this is 2006 guys, not 1986...