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Fresh phone-hacking allegations against UK newspaper News of the World claim that the voicemail messages of murder and terrorism victims were intercepted by the paper, in addition to the celebrity phone-hackings admitted previously.
New Scientist takes a look at the technicalities of phone hacking – and whether you could become a hacker’s prey. “Phone hacking” conjures up images of criminal masterminds cracking into ultra-secure data systems, but the reality is much simpler.
Cellphone networks allow you to access your voicemail from any phone, not just your own handset, by dialling a certain number – depending on the network, this number could be based on your own mobile number, or a generic one for all customers. Once through to the voicemail service you’ll be prompted for a PIN, normally a four-digit number.
This should be known only to you, but some networks use default PINs for all new customers.
Your 800toll free or local number can double as a fax line allowing you to receive faxes without any equipment.
Once an incoming fax is detected it is converted to a digital image that you can access online, and have delivered via email as a PDF.
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Some are divorced or new to a city and want to fast-forward their dating.If they don’t, they can access their voicemail only from their cellphone. Mobile networks let forgetful customers reset their PIN to the default by calling customer services and providing a password – but if you’ve forgotten your PIN, you’ve probably forgotten your password too, so the networks also let your reset by providing a few personal details. To find out if I could hack my own voicemail I called my mobile provider, Virgin Mobile, from a landline and asked to reset my PIN.Virgin Mobile also prompts customers to change their PIN, but doesn’t require it – you can just use the default PIN if you wish. I was asked for my password, which I claimed to have forgotten, and then given a previously set password hint, which I claimed didn’t jog my memory.With 800.com, sending a fax is as easy as sending an email.Send faxes to a single recipient, or broadcast a fax to multiple recipients anywhere in the world.