The potential risks behind sharing a phone number
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In most people's lives, phone numbers are shared personal data without any hesitation. These numbers are left at the grocery store to be a member discount card, at the pharmacy to get the drug or on the website to register to use the application, etc.
Currently, the main phone numbers of most people are mobile numbers. It is associated with us everywhere and regardless of day or night. Users rarely change it whether they change jobs or accommodation many times. At the same time, these number strings are becoming more connected with online applications and services associated with everyday personal life. Moreover, the phone numbers can now provide more offline information, including accommodation and more.
In fact, the personal phone number is currently rated as more powerful identification information than the full name. According to the research of Fyde - a mobile security company in Palo, within a short time when the phone number is available, the hacker has full enough records about a person including name and date of birth, address of residency, taxes, names of family members.
Emre Tezisci, a security researcher at Fyde, said that the information is taken from White Pages Premium, an online database that charges $ 5 a month to access. The data collected may be used to answer security questions of online accounts and cheat family members. However, such action will be considered a violation of the law. Worse, hackers can use personal information linked to phone numbers to trick service providers and steal new sim cards. After they have control of the phone number, they will be able to access personal accounts, if the user has a security message login mechanism.
In addition, some companies, when having phone numbers of customers, can also use them for purposes such as targeted advertising, spam calls or promotional messages and links to fake information. Many technology companies allow the use of phone numbers to protect their accounts from unauthorized access, but even the world's leading companies like Facebook did not use this information properly. Looking up the profile of a Facebook account by phone number was quite easy, which caused many users to complain. After that, Facebook turned off this account search feature.
Fyde's CEO said that there is currently no solution to completely prevent the risks occurring besides sharing phone numbers. In some cases, providing phone numbers to organizations like banks will help your account have an extra layer of security, but there are potential risks and annoyances to users when sharing this information.
By: Abigail Harris