The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Urges Companies to Secure Consumer Data
The Warning Follows the Log4J Attacks.
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government whose primary objective is to enforce civil antitrust law in the United States and to promote consumer protection. The FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division share authority over federal civil antitrust enforcement.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently warned that any US corporation that fails to secure its customers’ data from ongoing Log4J assaults may face legal action.
Log4j is a ubiquitous piece of software used to record activities in a wide range of systems found in consumer-facing products and services. Recently, a serious vulnerability in the popular Java logging package, Log4j (CVE-2021-44228) was disclosed, posing a severe risk to millions of consumer products to enterprise software and web applications. This vulnerability is being widely exploited by a growing set of attackers.
When vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited, it risks a loss or breach of personal information, financial loss, and other irreversible harms. The duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate known software vulnerabilities implicates laws including, among others, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act. It is critical that companies and their vendors relying on Log4j act now, in order to reduce the likelihood of harm to consumers, and to avoid FTC legal action. According to the complaint in Equifax, a failure to patch a known vulnerability irreversibly exposed the personal information of 147 million consumers. Equifax agreed to pay $700 million to settle actions by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and all fifty states. The FTC intends to use its full legal authority to pursue companies that fail to take reasonable steps to protect consumer data from exposure as a result of Log4j, or similar known vulnerabilities in the future.
According to BleepingComputer, the FTC advises businesses to follow CISA’s guidance on mitigating Log4j flaws and update your Log4j software package to the most recent version, consult CISA guidance to mitigate the vulnerability, ensure remedial steps are taken to ensure that your company’s practices do not violate the law, and distribute this information to any relevant third-party subsidiaries that sell products or services to vulnerable consumers.
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