Entries in phone hacking (3)


News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch to Face Shareholders

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch may be taking some heat from shareholders on Friday when they get together for the company's annual shareholders meeting in Los Angeles.

Criticism is expected over the phone hacking scandal in Britain that forced News Corp. to close its best selling tabloid, The News of the World.  It is alleged that the newspaper hacked the phones of more than 4,000 politicians, crime victims and celebrities in an effort to get juicy stories.

During Friday's meeting, shareholders will also have the chance to vote on the company’s board members, including Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumers Make Cellphone Hacking Easy

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The phone hacking scandal that led to the demise of News of the World and put News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch in the hot seat highlights just how easy it is for predators to break into cellphones.

Your phone can be hacked two ways: "hacking into your cellphone as you're on the phone or hacking into your voicemail," says Mark Rasch, director of cybersecurity and privacy consulting at Computer Sciences Corp.

The first method -- breaking into your phone while you're talking on it -- is difficult, says Rasch.  A hacker would need to hack into your cellphone provider or corrupt an employee who works for the company to listen in on a conversation.

The second method -- breaking into your voicemail -- is not so tough.  It involves installing a program that would allow the hacker to capture and intercept phone calls.

"It is very easy to do, and that's typically because voicemail is secured with a short four digit number.  It can be hacked, spoofed, guessed and social engineered," says Rasch.

What makes it so easy?  Blame yourself.  Most people choose simplistic passwords that are easy for hackers to guess.

"The most common pass code is the last four digits of your phone number," says Rasch.

"People want something easy to remember and easy to type at 75 miles per hour with a cup of coffee in the hand and the cellphone in the other," says Rasch. "They'll pick the same pin number for ATM, cellphone and a dozen other things.  It's just human nature."

To avoid these pitfalls, some say passwords should be automated or randomly selected.

"You shouldn't be able to pick your password or pass code," says Daniel Amitay, an iPhone developer.  "It should be randomized.  The problem with pass codes and passwords is people pick them."

All eyes have been trained on News Corp. in recent weeks, following allegations that the now-defunct News of the World hacked the phones of more than 4,000 politicians, crime victims and celebrities.

But at the center of the firestorm was Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old murder victim whose cell phone was hacked by journalists on the hunt for a big scoop.  When the teenager disappeared in early 2002, reporters allegedly listened to the dead girl's voicemail and deleted messages on the system, tainting the investigation and creating false hope among the victim's family members that she might still be alive.

While it's unclear exactly how the reporters gained access to Milly Dowler's voicemail, one lesson emerges: it wasn't too hard.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


News Corp's Bid For BSkyB Uncertain 

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation ended a tumultuous week with news that their proposed takeover bid of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is in jeopardy.

News Corp. announced on Thursday that it was closing their 168-year old tabloid, News of the World after revelations that it hacked into and deleted a missing 13-year-old girl’s phone in 2002. News of the World has been embroiled in allegations of hacking into the phones of members of the royal family, cabinet members and victims of the July 7, 2005 London subway and bus bombings.  Although News Corp. survived these past scandals, this week's revelations have led to public and political uproar forcing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to announce independent inquiries into the newspaper’s activities.

The communications regulator, Ofcom, issued a statement on Tuesday about the issue.  "In the light of the current public debate about phone hacking and other allegations, Ofcom confirms that it has a duty to be satisfied on an ongoing basis that the holder of a broadcasting licence is 'fit and proper'."

The New York Times reports that BSkyB's shares dropped by 7 percent from Monday and over 500,000 petition signatures opposing the media conglomerate's bid have been submitted to an advocacy group and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has delayed a decision on the bid until September due to political pressure following the scandal and the volume of objections his ministry has received.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio