Mobility

FTC seeks to patrol mobile patching

Shutterstock image: mobile device security, continuous monitoring concept.

The Federal Trade Commission is taking an interest in mobile security and has asked eight mobile device manufacturers to share details on their process for sending security updates to patch vulnerabilities in their devices.

FTC commissioners voted 3-0 to send letters to Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC America, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics America seeking information on their best practices and approaches to patching potential security flaws in their devices.

The FTC wants to know, for example, how customers are notified of security updates, how long individual devices are supported with updates and how users are informed when a device will no longer be supported. The agency is also collecting information on how manufacturers communicate with supply chain partners, including chipset fabricators and software designers, on vulnerabilities that could have an impact on device security.

They are also interested in finding out what percentage of users actually install security updates and the existence of vulnerabilities that could potentially result in a device running unauthorized code or compromising personally identifiable consumer information.

Through its compulsory information collection, the FTC wants to develop detailed information on the state of mobile security going back to devices sold in August 2013. Companies have 45 days from the May 6 FTC order to comply.

The Federal Communications Commission is also taking an interest in security. Jon Wilkins, chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, sent a letter to mobile carriers requesting information on their processes for reviewing mobile security updates.

"There have recently been a growing number of vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems that threaten the security and integrity of a user's device, including 'Stagefright' in the Android operating system, which may affect almost 1 billion Android devices globally," the FCC press release states.

FCC officials said they would share their findings with the FTC and with industry.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


Featured

  • FCW Perspectives
    human machine interface

    Your agency isn’t ready for AI

    To truly take advantage, government must retool both its data and its infrastructure.

  • Cybersecurity
    secure network (bluebay/Shutterstock.com)

    Federal CISO floats potential for new supply chain regs

    The federal government's top IT security chief and canvassed industry for feedback on how to shape new rules of the road for federal acquisition and procurement.

  • People
    DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, shown here at her Nov. 8, 2017, confirmation hearing. DHS Photo by Jetta Disco

    DHS chief Nielsen resigns

    Kirstjen Nielsen, the first Homeland Security secretary with a background in cybersecurity, is being replaced on an acting basis by the Customs and Border Protection chief. Her last day is April 10.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.