Customer Alert: Bell Atlantic Offers Security Tips for Voice Mail Users

Customer Alert: Bell Atlantic Offers Security Tips for Voice Mail Users

Passwords Key to Protecting Privacy of Voice Messages

July 8, 1998

Media contact:

Joan Rasmussen,

NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic today cautioned voice mail users to make
sure their passwords are secure to protect the privacy of their messages.

The company issued the consumer alert in response to growing concerns
about voice mail hackers. One recent example involved internal voice mail
messages of Chiquita Brands International Inc., which allegedly were stolen
by a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter.

"We know that hackers attempt to access voice mail by trying simple
passwords," said Richard McCusker, Bell Atlantic director - consumer
messaging services. "That's why it's so important for voice mail users to
make it difficult for anyone to figure out their password and to keep that
password to themselves."

The company advises voice mail customers of Bell Atlantic and other
providers of voice mail services to follow these steps:

  • Create your own password to replace the temporary password
    provided by your voice mail provider when your voice mailbox
    is set up.

  • Select a password that is complex. Do not use your birth date,
    the last four digits of your phone number, your street address,
    your nickname or any other obvious number.

  • Use the maximum number of digits available for your password.
    The more numbers you use, the more difficult it will be for
    someone to guess your password.

  • Keep your password to yourself. Do not tell other people what
    it is.

  • If you have multiple mailboxes for other members of your
    household, each user should select his or her own password.

  • If you write down your password, make sure you keep it in a
    secure location. Do not write it near or on your phone.

  • Change your password periodically.

  • If someone has gotten into your voice mailbox, change your
    password right away. Then, immediately report the situation to
    your voice mail provider, whether that's Bell Atlantic or
    another provider of voice mail service.

Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX --
is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry.
With more than 41 million telephone access lines and 6.7 million wireless
customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of
advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless
services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell
Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-
growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in
23 countries.