Murdoch Scandal Fallout: Consumers Make Cell Phone Hacking Easy


Pretexting, the practice of getting personal information by using deceptive tactics, is another method for obtaining phone records. In 2006, Hewlett Packard brought "pretexting" into the limelight after it was revealed the company used it to obtain the phone records of journalists and board members.

As smartphone usage continues to grow, consumers must consider new ways to stay safe.

Tracey Hawkins, at safety and Security Source, offered critical tips for smartphone users:

Disable your bluetooth. If enabled, it's like leaving your phone open, as Bluetooth is an open connection.

Beware of public Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is not secure, because it opens an account to anyone. Malware and spyware can infect a phone in the exact same way they infect a computer. If you get an SMS text, don't click on it -- like Bluetooth, it opens your phone and makes your account vulnerable.

Create better passwords. A group of computer programmers compiled a list of the Top 500 Worst Passwords of All Time. The soon-to-be updated list is an example of how predictable passwords or pass codes can be. "Approximately one out of every nine people uses at least one password on the list," according to What's My Pass.

"Create reasonably difficult pin numbers, consider more secure forms of communication, delete voicemail messages you don't need any more," says Rasch.

While there's no application to keep your phone from harm, the growing usage of apps makes your pin codes ever more vulnerable.

"We're downloading a bunch of applications," says Rasch. "When was the last time you downloaded something to your home phone? You don't. It's just a phone."

A smartphone, which is basically a mini-portable computer, has programs that can be hacked just like a laptop or a desktop.

"You're running programs that could cause security problems," says Rasch. The three most important words for passcode and password safety is to "mix it up," he says. Make sure your passwords are "not the same thing, not four consecutive numbers, no pin numbers and don't' keep all your voicemails forever."

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