By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Last week, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and the I-Team's Leisa Zigman both had their voicemail hacked. It was part of an effort to expose serious vulnerabilities with smartphones.
It took less than a minute for Michael Gregg of Superior Solutions in Houston to hack into our systems. Koster called the violation a serious concern and said Missouri laws need to be strengthened and the phone companies need to do its share as well.
On Friday, AT&T announced a change in its policy. The statement below details the change and how smart phone owners can better protect their voicemail systems.
Today, customers have the option and are strongly encouraged to password-protect access to their wireless voicemail. Beginning August 5, voicemail accounts for new customers, those who change phone numbers, upgrade to Visual Voice Mail, or create a new voicemail box will default to a password required setting to check voicemail from their wireless or any other device.
Although AT&T strongly recommends using a password, customers want a choice. Customers may opt out of using a password, but only after the initial password is established and they affirmatively turn off the password feature from the main menu.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster issued the following statement after the I-Team informed him of the new policy.
"It should be everyone's goal that people's personal privacy be protected," he said. "AT&T's step in this direction makes a difference...thank you."
In October, Koster will host an electronic communications security and privacy summit in St. Louis.
Summit participants will hear testimony from law enforcement, advocacy groups and citizens in order to review current laws on issues including phone hacking, email privacy, identity theft and unauthorized GPS tracking.