Feeds

O2 leaks 3G users' mobile numbers to every website visited

Telco launches probe

Security for virtualized datacentres

Updated O2 UK is dishing out its customers' mobile numbers like free sweeties to every website they visit over a 3G connection.

The info leak was highlighted yesterday by O2 customer Lewis Peckover, who set up a little web tool that displays all the HTTP header information sent to sites by connecting web browsers. These strings of data include details such as the URL of the page requested, and the web browser and operating system versions used by the person visiting the site.

For customers browsing on an O2 3G connection, these headers also include their telephone number in an x-up-calling-line-id line - added in by proxy server software most likely running on the telco's network, rather than disclosed by a gadget's browser or software. Enterprising website owners can try to keep a copy of the HTTP header information sent over by visiting browsers and tie it to IP addresses and logins, if applicable.

Rival 3G networks are not appending visitors' phone numbers to the HTTP headers. O2 phones using Wi-Fi won't have the issue, nor will O2 users using web browsers such as Opera, which have their own proxy servers.

From reports on Twitter, BlackBerrys on O2 don't experience the problem because RIM runs its own proxy servers, and neither do O2 customers in Germany and other countries because the telco operates separate proxy servers in each nation.

The mobile number leak also affects GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile customers, whose networks piggyback O2's infrastructure. ®

Updated to add

While O2 says it is still investigating the matter, the number-leaking HTTP header has disappeared from the telco's 3G proxy system. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.