CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON REVELATION OF CELL PHONE SECURITY VULNERABILITY

August 25, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON - Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) released the following statement in response to reports about serious security vulnerabilities in Apple’s iOS operating system. So-called ‘digital arms dealers’ have developed software that can expose a phone user’s location, passwords, text messages, emails, calls and contact lists.

“As a computer science major, I am incredibly alarmed, but unfortunately not surprised, by the discovery of significant security vulnerabilities in one of our country’s most prolific smartphone operating systems. 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. From the SS7 network to iOS, vulnerabilities in our communications systems have made it possible for foreign governments, criminal syndicates and hackers to target individuals and have near-full access to everything we say or do on our smartphone. Today’s announcement follows news last week that an anonymous group had stolen a jackpot of hacking tools to exploit “zero-day” vulnerabilities from the National Security Agency and published them for all the world to use.”

“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. I also again urge the Administration to disclose the criteria used in determining whether to notify cyber vulnerabilities to private sector companies rather than hoard and conceal the vulnerabilities. Whatever our government may do in terms of using cyber malware, others will do to American citizens. The best protection for the United States and our people is to have secure systems.”

Additional Background:
Congressman Lieu has been a leading congressional advocate for stronger cyber security and privacy measures to protect consumers, especially when it comes to mobile devices. He was featured on 60 Minutes earlier this year in a story exposing a major weakness in our global mobile network and recently sent a letter to the FCC asking them to expedite their investigation into the flaw.

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