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Be Aware: Your Old Cell Number Can Get You Hacked

11 May, 2021
Be Aware: Your Old Cell Number Can Get You Hacked

The data breach has become one of the most challenging issues in the world these days. Not only the giant organizations but even the common person's cell phone is not safe. As per the data by Statista.com, the total number of data breach cases reported in the United States was more than 1000 in the year 2020. Also, in the same year, 155.8 individuals were affected by the data exposure. A data exposure means the accidental revelation of sensitive information because of less than adequate information security.

Number recycling is when your old number gets allocated to the new customer, when you ditch that number. However, now it is found that the operation can be dangerous. Research conducted at Princeton University stated that the number recycling process could put you in trouble regarding security and privacy risks.

The two esteemed researchers of the Department of Computer science and Center for Information technology named Arvind Narayan and Kevin Lee, had run an experiment. They sampled 259 US-based phone numbers that were allocated to new subscribers. Here is what they found in the research:

They researched 259 cell phone numbers allocated to the new customers at two major carriers. They got to know that more than 170 cell phone numbers were tied to existing accounts at famous sites. And these sites have the potential to hijack those accounts. Also, the shocking revelation is that the majority of available numbers led him to hits on people's search services. These people search services are more than enough to offer personally identifiable information of previous number owners.

Additionally, an integral portion of the selected numbers was linked to breached login information on the internet. This thing can allow account hijacking that defeats messaging-based two-factor authentication.

The more concerning part is your previously ditched number can put you in trouble, if it gets into the wrong hands. It could be easy for hackers to leak your personal information that can be misused. It is also revealed that the new owner of the number keeps getting updates about the previous owner's appointments such as 'medical test results,' 'credit score reports', etc.

The researchers of the esteemed university found that people often forget about updating the new cell number to their online accounts. As the old number of the customer is integrated with two-factor authentication, the new owner gets access to look out for your accounts and emails.

The researchers also advised you to shut down all your social media accounts integrated with your old phone number to the new mobile phone number you will be using. They mentioned that your personal information could easily be collected from various people's search sites. Some examples of that kind of site are BeenVerified or Intelius, and hackers use these to augment the account takeovers.

If you are interested in learning ethical hacking to get more knowledge about preventing these kinds of attacks, you should visit ISOEH. The Indian School of Ethical Hacking has more than 15 years of experience in the IT Security Industry, working with law enforcement agencies, the Government, and other private organizations. The organization has a strong alumni base with robust industry relevance. An enthusiast ethical hacking aspirant should check out the ISOEH.

Keep following ISOEH news to get cyber security updates.

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