The Federal Trade Commission announced Friday that it had settled charges that HTC America had inadequately secured its smartphones and tablets, leaving sensitive user information vulnerable to malicious programs.
Regulators said that HTC had modified the operating systems on its mobile devices, adding features that left customers vulnerable to applications that can secretly collect information such as call logs and location data. The case highlights growing concerns that the fractured nature of popular smartphone platforms, in which manufacturers customize Google’s and Microsoft’s operating systems, can leave an opening for hackers.
Many owners of HTC products received patches to plug security holes after the issues came to light in 2011. The company said in a statement Friday that it is working to update the rest of the phones.
The FTC declined to comment on whether it is investigating other handset makers over similar concerns, but said the case is just one piece of the agency’s look at mobile security and privacy issues.