CTIA shares tips for preventing News Corp. (or anyone else) from hacking your voicemail

If you're concerned that Rupert Murdoch or anyone else might be snooping on your voicemails, never fear: the CTIA wireless association is here to help

If you're concerned that Rupert Murdoch or anyone else might be snooping on your voicemails, never fear: the CTIA wireless association is here to help.

Apparently responding to recent revelations of widespread illegal phone-hacking that occurred at the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid in the United Kingdom, CTIA Wednesday issued five essential tips to prevent snoopy reporters from hacking into your voicemail account.

BACKGROUND: UK's News of the World closes after phone hacking scandal

BACKGROUND LulzSec resurrected to attack Murdoch

The CTIA says that British hackers used a combination of spoofing and pretexting in order to gain access to their targets' voicemail accounts. Spoofing occurs when a hacker alters the caller ID information transmitted by a certain device to appear differently on caller ID screens. Pretexting, meanwhile, requires the hacker to contact a carrier's customer service representative by pretending to be the targeted user. Once the hacker has convinced the customer service representative that they are indeed the hacking target - a process made much easier by spoofing caller ID information - they then can either obtain or reset the target's voicemail password.

The data breach quiz

CTIA notes that pretexting is a federal crime in the United States and says that "many forms of spoofing are also against the law in the U.S." The carrier recommends that users contact the FCC if they suspect they're a victim of either pretexting or spoofing.

The CTIA's hacking-prevention tips are mostly straightforward and obvious, as two of them basically warn users not to lose their phones and to not give their phones to strangers. The somewhat-less-obvious tips involve using complex voicemail passwords that are changed regularly, limiting your total voice mail capacity, frequently deleting messages you've listened to and making sure your device has remote wipe capabilities in case you've lost it. You can view CTIA's full take on phone-hacking prevention at their official blog.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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