Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Two Tech Problems and One Ethical Problem With Voicemail

It's just a matter of time before hackers get inside our heads.

They have already gotten inside our bodies -- literally. If you have a pacemaker, you know what we're talking about.

Now the hackers can take over our lives through our voices, sort of. It's a voicemail hack.

Leave a Message

According to reports, security geek Martin Vigo knows how to get your passwords to online accounts through your voicemail. It's your phone's fault, he said.

He explained how it works at a recent hacker convention called Def Con, telling the crowd that some automated services leave a message with a code. With a script he wrote, he reset a voicemail password and then used it to crack open an account.

"In three, two, one, boom -- there it is," Vigo said to audience applause. "We just compromised PayPal."

Vigo said he already alerted the affected companies about the vulnerability, and changed the code so "other" hackers don't start ripping passwords. There are more solutions to the problem, however.

Disable Voicemail

Disabling voicemail is an obvious fix, or another is to use "the longest possible PIN," Vigo said. Those are tech ways to get around the voicemail hack, but that's problem, too.

Everybody with a cell phone has voicemail, even though many people never listen to it. It's about being reachable.

But that presents an ethical dilemma for lawyers: do you disable the voicemail and risk clients not being able to reach you? Or do change your PIN and risk clients saying you don't return calls?

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