Old mobile numbers have been called a cybersecurity threat.

Scientists from the United States have identified a number of pitfalls associated with the reuse of mobile numbers. Such things can carry a security threat associated with account hijacking, phishing and spam attacks, and even obstacles to registration in online services.

The work is published in the journal of Princeton University. Scientists from the Faculty of Computer Science and the Center for Information Technology Policy assessed the cybersecurity risks associated with the reuse of phone numbers in the United States.

Every time a user changes a mobile phone number, the mobile operator uses it again.

This is the case, by the way, not only in the USA, but also in Russia. Therefore, along with the mobile number, you can purchase the problems of the old user. However, he just might get more than a new subscriber.

According to the scientists’ findings, about 66 percent of the numbers they analyzed were still linked to the accounts of previous owners on popular Internet resources. And this carries the threat of capturing accounts linked to these numbers by simply restoring passwords

At the same time, attackers can look at the available mobile numbers that are displayed in the online data change interfaces and check whether any of them are connected to the online accounts of previous users. In this case, they can get these numbers, reset the password in their accounts, as well as one-time passwords sent via SMS when logging in.

In addition, scientists found that out of 259 phone numbers, 215, although they were “recycled” by the telecom operator, remained vulnerable to several types of cyber attacks. 19 of the 200 “recycled” numbers checked during the week still received private messages and confidential calls intended for former owners.