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NY AG Settles Over Mobile App Security Issues

Five companies settled with the New York Attorney General over mobile app data security issues at the end of last year. The AG alleged that the companies, Western Union, Priceline, Equifax, Spark Networks, and Credit Sesame, had a well-known security vulnerability in their apps. This vulnerability resulted in insecure connections between the apps and the companies’ servers. As a result, a third party could easily have gained access to people’s sensitive information.

In its announcement, the AG pointed out that the vulnerability in question had been well known for many years, and that the FTC had reached a settlement in 2014 over the same issue. Also, that app developers can test their software for the vulnerability using “freely available software.” As part of the settlement the companies have agreed to implement comprehensive security programs to protect user information.

Putting it Into Practice: This settlement is a reminder that companies should keep in mind security measures when developing apps or other platforms that allow users to input personal information. These issues are of particular concern to regulators, including state regulators.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.


About this Author

Liisa Thomas, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Chicago, Cybersecurity Law Attorney

Liisa Thomas, a partner based in the firm’s Chicago and London offices, is Co-Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. Her clients rely on her ability to create clarity in a sea of confusing legal requirements and describe her as “extremely responsive, while providing thoughtful legal analysis combined with real world practical advice.” Liisa is the author of the definitive treatise on data breach, Thomas on Data Breach: A Practical Guide to Handling Worldwide Data Breach Notification, which has been described as “a no-nonsense roadmap for in-house and...

Amber Thomson, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Litigation Attorney

Amber C. Thomson is an associate in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.