O2 in the Dock Over Mobile Number Sharing
This accusation came about after research was carried out by a web systems administrator, Lewis Peckover. He found that anyone using O2 as their network is likely to have the mobile number shared with the websites they visit while using their smartphone. The numbers themselves are sent by the phone to the website via plain text.
In turn the website owner would be able to pick this data up easily and use it for marketing messages.
Interestingly, not all mobile phone users are affected, but the data sharing is only confined to O2. That said, anyone who uses another service that essentially piggybacks over the O2 network has been found to be affected.
Analyst Graham Cluley from the security firm Sophos, who suggested this matter has been known about for two years, said “My guess is that it’s more likely to be a cock-up than malice which caused this data to be leaked – but what’s worse is that the problem is still present almost two years after it was first discovered.”
Whether it is a ‘cock-up’ rather than a malicious attempt by two different parties is not really relevant. Further, if the issue has been around for two years and only discovered now, it will raise questions.
In the light of the recent phone hacking scandal, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for O2, who are now investigating.