Two Irish mobile networks have weaker voicemail security than UK counterparts – analyst

27 Jun 2014

In the aftermath of the UK phone hacking trials, a security analyst has alleged that at least two mobile phone networks in Ireland have weaker voicemail security than their counterparts in the UK.

This week, a jury in London convicted UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s former press secretary Andy Coulson of conspiracy to hack phones at the defunct News of the World newspaper and cleared Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News of the World parent company News International, of all charges.

Security Analyst Tom O’Connor from has said at least two mobile network operators, unnamed for legal reasons, in Ireland are vulnerable to attack.

“This is due to weak security at the mobile operators in question,” O’Connor said.

He said that while the Data Protection Commissioner addressed the subject of voicemail security in 2011, at least two carriers in Ireland have not plugged in a critical component.

How hackers can access voicemail

O’Connor said the public is at risk, as anyone with a little know-how can listen to voicemails and also obtain the numbers of the people calling them.

“It does not matter who they are, be it a judge, politician, teacher – nobody is safe on these networks at present.”

O’Connor said the problem lies in the way mobile phone operators authenticate people checking their voicemails.

“Hackers can use what is called CLI (caller line identity) to identify numbers on the insecure networks. They (the operators) should always ask for a PIN or identify consumers by another means than CLI,” O’Connor said.

Phone hacker image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years