HTC smartphone maker settles U.S. software security case

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:51pm IST

The logo of HTC is seen in Taipei September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang/Files

The logo of HTC is seen in Taipei September 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Pichi Chuang/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - HTC America, which makes smartphones and tablets that use Android and Windows software, will settle a U.S. regulator's charges it failed to take adequate steps to eliminate security flaws that put millions of users' data at risk.

The Federal Trade Commission said on Friday that HTC America, a subsidiary of HTC Corp in Taiwan, made millions of phones with programming flaws that allowed third-party applications to evade Android's permission-based security model.

This means that the Android operating system, which normally requires users be provided notice if sensitive data is given to third parties like data brokers, was prevented from giving notice to users, according to the FTC.

Sensitive data includes location or the contents of text messages. The settlement requires the company to establish a comprehensive security program and patch the software holes.

HTC spokeswoman Sally Julien said the company, working with carrier partners, has addressed the identified security issues on majority of devices released in the United States after December 2010.

"We're working to roll out the remaining software updates now and recommend customers download them once available," Julien said.

The regulator said in a statement that HTC America "failed to provide its engineering staff with adequate security training, failed to review or test the software on its mobile devices for potential security vulnerabilities (and) failed to follow well-known and commonly accepted secure coding practices."

It said millions of HTC devices were compromised, "potentially permitting malicious applications to send text messages, record audio, and even install additional malware" without the knowledge or consent of the user.

In a Twitter question-and-answer session, the FTC said that while the HTC America case was not the first on data security unfairness, it was the first that dealt with software security.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz and Alina Selyukh; Editing by Ros Krasny and Grant McCool)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Internet Constitution

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Chip Company

Chip Company

Panasonic, Fujitsu to form chip design, development company  Full Article 

Huawei Shrugs

Huawei Shrugs

China's Huawei says reports of NSA spying won't impact growth  Full Article 

Google Mobile

Google Mobile

Google extends reach into mobile apps with new ad feature  Full Article 

Internet Conference

Internet Conference

Brazil conference will plot Internet's future post NSA spying   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage