Reuters enlisted computer hacker Kevin Mitnick to demonstrate how easy it was for ‘News of the World’ journalists to hack cell phones — a criminal activity that shuttered the tabloid and launched a fiery scandal that now threatens its parent company News Corp.
Using free software that spoofs caller ID, Mitnick masked his phone number as the number of the phone he wanted to hack. When he dialed his hacking target, he was able to bypass the password protection and listen to the voicemail messages.
“So what happens is the cellular phone system thinks I’m calling from my handset and doesn’t ask for the password because that feature is turned off by default,” Mitnick explained. The video laid out the simple procedure step-by-step and even took a swipe at News Corp. in the process. The last step is “Evade law enforcement at all costs.”
Of course, Mitnick hacked his own phone for the demonstration because phone hacking is illegal. As for critics who might say that the demonstration promotes phone hacking: the lesson of the video was how to protect your phone from getting hacked (to change your voicemail settings to require a password every time, even if you’re calling from your own phone). [Header photo via Siarhei karotki/Flickr; via Reuters]