Think your AT&T or T-Mobile voicemail messages are safe and secure? Not so, says the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.
Triggered by security breaches (like Paris Hilton's infamous break-in of rival Lindsay Lohan's account), L.A. authorities conducted a year-long investigation into voicemail security and discovered that infiltrating accounts on the carriers' systems was not only possible, but simple to do.
How could it be so easy? Because both companies have a voicemail feature that bypasses the need for passwords or pins. The investigators used SpoofCard software, which lets people mask their phone numbers with a fake one for caller ID, and poof -- they were able to access the goods like a pimply-faced teen buying beer. Once they were in, listening to voicemails, erasing messages and leaving false ones was kid's play.
On Thursday, an L.A. court filed an injunction ordering AT&T and T-Mobile to stop advertising overblown security claims of their voicemail systems. Although they didn't admit to any wrongdoing, they agreed and promised to pay penalties equaling $59,300 (AT&T) and $25,000 (T-Mobile).
If you're a voicemail subscriber with these carriers and you don't use a PIN, you may want to start reconsidering that. Like right now.