U.K. Voice Mail Hack Reveals Danger of Weak, Lazy Password Choices
News Analysis: The reason the British tabloids were able to hack into so many cell phone voice mail accounts is because it was insanely easy. But it doesn't have to be.By now you've heard about the scandal in the U.K. in which employees of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, Sunday Times and other publications obtained illegal access to a wide variety of people's voice mail accounts. Some of those affected were former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a wide variety of celebrities, a kidnapped teen and soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan. As a result of this reprehensible activity, the News of the World has been shut down. Now, it appears that the scandal goes beyond the U.K. Recent revelations include the possibility that the same organizations hacked into the phones of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. Some of the reporters alleged to be responsible for the hacking have been arrested, although the editor of each of the publications at the time the hacking took place, Rebekah Brooks, unaccountably remains free.
This voice mail hacking apparently was a sort of open secret-many of the victims apparently knew that their phone passwords had been compromised. Brown, for example, reported that he was called by Brooks, who confronted him with the fact that his child had cystic fibrosis, information that could only have been obtained from voice mail.