U.S. investigates security of mobile devices


The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have asked mobile phone carriers and manufacturers to explain how they release security updates amidst mounting issues over security vulnerabilities, the United States agencies said on Monday.The agencies have composed to Apple Inc, AT&T Inc and Alphabet Inc, to name a few, in order "to better understand, and ultimately to improve, the security of mobile devices," the FCC stated.


The FCC sent letters to 6 mobile phone providers on security problems, while the FTC purchased 8 mobile phone manufacturers consisting of BlackBerry Ltd, Microsoft Corp, LG Electronics USA Inc and Samsung Electronics America Inc [SMELA.UL] to disclose "the aspects that they think about in choosing whether to patch vulnerability on a certain mobile phone."The FTC likewise seeks "comprehensive information on the particular mobile phones they have actually marketed to consumers since August 2013" and "the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company covered such vulnerabilities."


The companies are opening the query about how mobile providers and manufacturers deal with security updates for mobile devices because consumers and companies are performing a growing amount of everyday activities on mobile phones and new questions have actually been raised about how the security of mobile communications.The "safety of their communications and other personal information is directly related to the security of the gadgets they use," the FCC stated. "There have actually recently been a growing variety of vulnerabilities associated with mobile os that threaten the security and integrity of a user s device."


The FCC stated it corresponded to mobile providers including AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc, Sprint Corp, U.S. Cellular Corp, Tracfone Wireless, which is owned by America Movil SAB, and T-Mobile US, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, "asking concerns about their procedures for reviewing and releasing security updates for mobile phones."The business need to respond to the FCC and FTC concerns within 45 days.


There were more than 355 million U.S. mobile cordless devices in use in 2014, the FCC said in a December report. The firm said that number had increased to 382 million by mid-2015, mentioning company disclosures.The FCC noted that a vulnerability called "Stagefright" in the Android os could influence practically 1 billion Android devices worldwide. Reuters reported in August that Google and Samsung planned to launch regular monthly security fixes for Android phones.The modification followed security researcher Joshua Drake discovered a vulnerability that might allow assailants to send a unique multimedia message to an Android phone and access delicate material even if the message is unopened.


Google did not right away discuss Monday. Apple declined to comment.Customers may be left vulnerable, potentially indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities, the FCC stated.John Marinho, vice president for cyber security at CTIA, a cordless trade group, said in a statement that "customer’s security continues to be a leading concern for wireless companies, and there is an extremely strong partnership amongst providers."