Security & Fraud

FTC Wants Security Details From Mobile Device Makers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is running a security check on mobile devices.

The agency announced yesterday (May 9) that it has issued orders to eight mobile device manufacturers to share with the FTC the details about their particular processes in issuing security updates in instances when their smartphones, tablets, et al., show potential vulnerabilities.

The eight companies on the FTC’s checklist, it shared in a release, are Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung.

Per the agency’s order, those eight mobile device manufacturers are required to share information that includes: the factors that they take into account when deciding whether to patch a device vulnerability on a particular mobile device; detailed data on the mobile devices that they have made available for sale since Aug. 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected said devices; and if and when the companies took action to address those issues.

The orders, the FTC notes, are part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to understand the security of consumer mobile devices — an undertaking that also included a 2013 workshop and a related public comment period the following year.

Concurrent to the inquiry regarding the mobile device manufacturers, the FTC notes that it is also looking into how some of the major mobile carriers handle security updates.

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