You may recall several months ago we reported that former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston was among those who had been a victim of phone hacking by the tabloid press.
It has been announced this week that Eccleston is among the more recent group of victims to agree to the paying of damages over the scandal, a group that also includes campaigner, actor and brief thirteenth Doctor (see The Curse of the Fatal Death), Hugh Grant, who has donated his share to media reform campaign group Hacked Off.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, a lawyer for the hacking victims, said Eccleston was “shocked and distressed” when he was informed his messages has been accessed on 16 occasions and was also angry that “owing to the deliberate destruction of documents by the News of the World, he will never find out the true extent to which his privacy and that of those close to him, was invaded”.
This is where your editor takes off his Doctor Who hat and replaces it with his information security hat (it’s okay, I have experience).
Despite more payouts being made, unless changes are made to govern the press more closely (or preferably use existing laws as they were designed) there is always the chance of this happening again – and not just to celebrities, and not just by the press. So remember to set a PIN on your voicemail rather than rely on the default PIN provided by your mobile network. Do not under-estimate the implications of this scandal on the general public – if journalists can work their way through the principles of social engineering to guess a PIN, then it will prove extremely easy for a cyber criminal to do the same. All they need is your mobile number.