Congress urged to investigate security concerns raised by Apple flaws used by ‘digital arms dealers’

August 26, 2016
In The News

Rep. Ted Lieu, who has a degree is computer science, urged his colleagues Thursday to hold a hearing on mobile phone security after Apple rushed to repair critical iPhone vulnerabilities reportedly being leveraged by state-sponsored hackers.

The California Democrat was among the first lawmakers to formally weigh in this week after Apple asked its users to install an iPhones update that patches previously undisclosed security flaws affecting iOS 9.

The bugs were discovered two weeks earlier when an acclaimed human rights activist received suspicious messages on his mobile device instructing him to click a link, and security researchers subsequently determined that his phone had been targeted with sophisticated spying software that aimed to give attackers full access to his digital data.

A member of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Information Technology, Mr. Lieu said in a statement Thursday that he was alarmed but not surprised by the report, which said the activist’s iPhone had likely been targeted by government-hired hackers working on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

“The fact that over two-thirds of adults in the United States own a smartphone makes the device a natural target for bad actors, and we as a nation have thus far failed to take the threat seriously,” he said in a statement.

“I am pleased that Apple was able to quickly address this security breach, but it is clear that Congress must do more to address the issues of mobile security. I believe a congressional hearing is in order and plan to work with my colleagues to examine these critical security concerns,” the lawmaker added.