FCC, FTC To Phone Makers And Wireless Carriers: Deploy Fixes Faster
Regulating bodies in the United States now want to gather more information about how phone makers and wireless carriers go about dealing with security issues in mobile devices. At the same time, the feds want to know why fixes for bugs and vulnerabilities take too darned long be deployed. Indeed, both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have sent letters of inquiries to more than a dozen firms, collecting data about how mobile manufacturers and network operators handle security updates.
The FCC had already sent letters to the Big Four wireless carriers in the United States, namely Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The FTC, on the other hand, has focused its attention on getting insights from no more than eight phone and mobile software makers, including familiar names such as Samsung, Apple, and even Google. The letters sent by the two agencies shared one purpose -- to know more about security regarding mobile devices, and how to improve it.
We now live in a world in which mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily lives, not only with regards to personal matters, but also in matters of work and business. As a result, we are increasingly saving more sensitive information on our smartphones and tablet devices, and that data can be targeted by hackers and criminal elements. Because of this, mobile security is now more important than ever. And what the FCC and the FTC is trying to achieve now is try to facilitate innovation in this regard, and a big part of the process starts with how phone makers and wireless carriers deal with security issues.
With all sorts of malware popping up in headlines recently, it is only right that the FCC and the FTC put more pressure among players in the mobile and wireless industry to address security matters. In July of last year, a malware called Stagefright was discovered, and it basically lets attackers to gain unauthorized access to an Android powered mobile device by way of text message. Fixed have been deployed to counter Stagefright, but in October of last year, a couple of new variants surfaced.
The FCC understands that phone makers, mobile software producers, and network providers have indeed responded to these threats, but sometimes the time between the discovery of the issue and the roll out of the fix is too long -- leaving mobile users vulnerable to attacks for a considerable amount of time. Furthermore, those who own older models are more at risk because it is possible that their handsets may never get a fix.