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Lessons from FTC’s Lenovo case: Pay attention to the man in the middle

The Wizard of Oz was right: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” That’s because according to an FTC settlement, computer company Lenovo should have been paying attention to the “man in the middle.” In this case, the “man in the middle” was preloaded ad-injecting software that put consumers’ personal information at risk from harmful man-in-the-middle attacks.

Stick with Security: Secure remote access to your network


Ask a business person where their office is located and the likely answer is “everywhere.” They’re working from home, staying in the loop while traveling, and catching up on email between sales calls. For productivity’s sake, many companies give their employees – and perhaps clients or service providers – remote access to their networks. Are you taking steps to ensure those outside entryways into your systems are sensibly defended?

Who won the FTC Criminal Liaison Unit’s Consumer Shield Award? Here’s a clue.

Many historians acknowledge it as the oldest federal law enforcement agency, tracing back to 1772. Benjamin Franklin was integral to its establishment. And the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit (CLU) is proud to present one of its employees with the Consumer Shield Award, which recognizes outstanding work by a law enforcement officer in fighting consumer fraud.

Stick with Security: Segment your network and monitor who’s trying to get in and out


Who’s coming in and what’s going out? Businesses that want to stick with security build commonsense monitoring into their brick-and-mortar operations. Whether it’s a key card reader at the door or a burglar alarm activated at night, careful companies keep an eye on entrances and exits.

Ad agency liability: FTC looks to conduct, not the grey flannel suit

According to the “Mad Men” stereotype, you could spot an old-school advertising agency executive by the tailored wardrobe and expense account lunch. A lot has changed in the ad game, but two truths remain: 1) More than 50 years of FTC cases establish that ad agencies may be liable for their role in deceptive campaigns; and 2) Companies that may not describe themselves as “ad agencies” may still be held responsible for illegal acts or practices. In other words, the FTC looks to the facts, not the grey flannel suit.

FTC says Uber took a wrong turn with misleading privacy, security promises

How much information does Uber have about its riders and drivers? A lot. The FTC just announced a settlement addressing charges that the company falsely claimed to closely monitor internal access to consumers’ personal information on an ongoing basis. The FTC also alleges that Uber failed to live up to its promise to provide reasonable security for consumer data.

FTC alleges ISO, sales agents laundered millions in credit card charges

Consumer scams need four things to survive: food, water, air – and access to the credit card system. Credit card networks build protections into the system to engage lawful businesses while keeping an eye out for fraud. When people use tactics to try to work around those protections, law enforcers take notice.

Kvetch and release

They say “Nobody likes a complainer,” but don’t you believe it. For years, the FTC has encouraged consumers to speak up about questionable practices. We use those complaints in lots of different ways – for example, to spot emerging forms of fraud, to help set FTC priorities, and to bring law enforcement actions. Today we’re announcing a significant expansion in how we use complaint data in the ongoing fight against what some people view as Consumer Enemy #1.

Before crossing borders with online reviews and endorsements, check the rules of the road

When you travel to another country, it can be challenging to figure out the lay of the land. That’s true for driving – and for advertising and marketing. A good guidebook or map can make a world of difference.

Start with security – and stick with it


When it comes to data security, what’s reasonable will depend on the size and nature of your business and the kind of data you deal with. But certain principles apply across the board: Don’t collect sensitive information you don’t need. Protect the information you maintain. And train your staff to carry out your policies.

Innovation citation: FTC announces winners of IoT Home Inspector Challenge

Internet of Things entrepreneurs are developing products to help keep households running smoothly. But like anyone else you invite into your home, it’s important that IoT devices – appliances, fitness monitors, home security systems, etc. – behave like good houseguests. Out-of-date software can pose a particular problem. One IoT device without software updates can present its own security risks, of course, but it also can introduce vulnerabilities elsewhere on the home network.

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