On The Media Covers Voicemail Security & Spoofing Caller ID

Sunday’s episode of On The Media from WNYC had considerable coverage of the evolving News Of The World story. In addition they had a full segment on the state of voicemail security in the US.

In the segment on voicemail security Executive Producer John Keefe tried one of the common “hacks” on his own cellular service. Using an online service he spoofed his caller ID such that the cellular carrier thought he was calling from his own cell phone number from his own handset, a circumstance where they may not require the use of the voicemail PIN code.

They go on to give an overview of the state of basic voice mail security with some of the major US carriers. Apparently only AT&T and Sprint by default allow caller ID based bypass of the requirement for use of a PIN code.

It’s good to see someone looking beyond the face of the scandal to consider how the cellular carriers blatant disregard for even the simplest matters of security allowed the exploits occur.

News Of The World & “Hacking” Cell Phone Voicemail

The recent blow-up in the UK over the tabloid media accessing people’s cellular voicemail is certainly interesting. Endless media outlets are reporting the crime as “hacking” cell phones or cell phone voice mail. Here are just a few examples:

I find that the use of the term “hacking” in this context rests uneasily with me. In my mind hacking implies that there’s an appreciable skill involved. The most basic of the techniques described I consider to be trivially simple. It requires no particular skill at all, just a little devilishness.

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Gigi Sohn Of Public Knowledge On AT&T+T

Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn testifies on the AT&T-T-Mobile merger before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee on May 11, 2011. I caught a portion of the testimony via the web stream. You can find that C-SPAN coverage here.

I found that AT&T’s arguments for the merger were hollow at best, and deceptive at worst. I hope that the Congress will act via the DOJ where it seems unlikely that the FCC will see fit.

For more information, check out http://www.publicknowledge.org/tell-president-obama-stop-unthinkable-att-t-mo….

Blackberry Desktop v6.0 Drops Desktop Email Redirector

Since November of last year I’ve been carrying a T-Mobile issued Blackberry 9700, aka “Bold2.” It’s a very good phone. I have no issues with the device, nor the carrier for that matter. Good hardware. Good service. On the other hand, this past weekend is an interesting indictment of the phones manufacturer, Research In Motion.

This past weekend the Blackberry Desktop application on my home office PC informed me that Blackberry Desktop 6.0 was available, and I should let it do an automatic update. Like an idiot…I did.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t really use much of the Blackberry Desktop software. It’s functions are many, but tend to revolve around sync’ing the handset with Outlook. Simply put, my calendar and contacts are not that dynamic, so I rarely sync the phone with my PC.

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The Sprint 3G Mifi: One Year Later

It’s just over a year ago that I took the plunge and ordered a Sprint 3G Mifi. It was move inspired by a tweet from Andy Abramson pointing out a deal on Amazon.com. The device was free with a two year contract at $59.95/month.

I’ve put the device to good use over the course of the year. It’s been very handy indeed. However, I suspect that we shall part company shortly.

I really don’t have any complaints about the Sprint 3G service. It’s been pretty good. There have been a few places where the Mifi could only connect at 1xRTT, but I’ve usually had decent 3G data rates in the locations where I tend to travel.

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Gigaset One: Bluetooth-Based Cell-to-PSTN Interface

A couple of weeks ago friend Tony up at Gigaset promised to send me a couple of the newer Gigaset DECT handsets that they’ve started to sell in the US. The box arrived and true to his promise there are a couple of handsets..but this is not about them. Left with a little space in the box Tony threw in a Gigaset One Bluetooth interface device. It’s proven to be a curious and interesting little device.

Let me be completely clear about this….it’s not often that manufacturers just send me stuff (disclosure statement). After almost 600 posts to this blog I’ve managed forge a few good relationships with manufacturers, but in most cases I simply buy whatever hardware I truly need, and that’s what I get to write about.

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