As with every news story, after a few days or sometimes weeks it blows over. The old story is forgotten as a new one replaces it. The Levenson Inquiry has been released recently, with some backlash from the main three political parties. You may think with the publication of the Levenson Inquiry all the problems and vulnerabilities have gone. Think again.

To pull off a “phone hack” was relatively easy and required little information or technical knowledge. Today people still use a default PIN or a simple-to-guess PIN which means a lot of people are still vulnerable. A more sinister problem still exists in the UK and abroad: interception of telephone calls and text messages.

The problem with the News of the World scandal is the target was only voicemails which are, of course, recorded in the past. Such messages may be days old and do not paint a picture of the present. More worrying is the ability to eavesdrop on live telephone calls. Rogue private investigators, criminal gangs and pretty much every government in the world has this capability.

With equipment available for sale to the authorities, there is always a possibility of corruption. Plus, there are plans on the internet enabling someone to make their own equipment for less than £1,000. In 2010 at DEFCON (a yearly hacking conference held in Last Vegas) there was a seminar on how to do just that. Another article in 2011 by the BBC also detailed a method. Mobile phone calls (GSM) have been around for some time and have never been 100 per cent secure.

This may be worrying, but the UK Government is reasonably trust worthy when it comes to intercepting our private mobile calls. People with a higher status or those who are travelling abroad may be at higher risk. Egypt, Syria, Iran, Russia and other communist or ex-Soviet states have been listening into political opposition leaders’ calls for years. Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition politician, had a phone call leaked and recorded in 2011, allegedly by United Russia.