Tech

Security Of Mobile Devices Under Investigation By Feds

By Victor Thomson , May 11, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Two federal agencies announced on Monday, May 9, that amid mounting concerns over security vulnerabilities, they have asked mobile phone manufacturers and carriers to explain how they release security updates.

Reuters reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have written to Alphabet Inc, AT&T and Apple Inc, among others, in order to improve mobile devices' security.

Because businesses and consumers are conducting a growing amount of daily activities on mobile devices, the two federal agencies have decided to open the inquiry about the security of mobile communications. The U.S. agencies seek to gather information on how mobile manufacturers and carriers handle security updates for mobile devices.

The FTC ordered eight mobile device manufacturers including Microsoft Corp, Samsung Electronics America Inc, LG Electronics USA Inc and BlackBerry to disclose the factors they take into consideration in deciding whether it is necessary to take security measures and "to patch a vulnerability on a particular mobile device." The FTC also requested data on the specific mobile devices the manufacturers have offered for sale since August 2013.

The agency is interested in the security vulnerabilities of those devices and the way companies have dealt with such vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, the FCC contacted six mobile phone carriers with letters on security issues.

The FCC said that the safety of customers' communications and the privacy of their personal information are related directly to the security of the used devices. The federal agency added that recently, the number of vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems has been growing and that is a direct threat to the integrity and security of a user's device.

According to Fortune, the main data privacy and security regulator enforcing consumer protection were the Federal Trade Commission's for long. But since the last year, the FTC's sister agency, the Federal Communications Commissionm, came to join it in regulating broadband ISPs. This means that now, there are two privacy and security enforcing agencies on the Internet.

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