Some EpiPen, EpiPen Jr. Devices Now Being Recalled In U.S. Because They May Not Work When Needed

Mylan, the makers of the EpiPen emergency allergy treatment are expanding a previously announced overseas recall to now include EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. devices distributed in the U.S. over concerns they may not function properly when needed.

Like the earlier recall, the affected EpiPens were manufactured in the U.S. for Mylan by Pfizer subsidiary Meridian Medical Technologies. Mylan says certain epinephrine auto-injectors may have a defect that could “make the device difficult to activate in an emergency.” More precisely, the EpiPen could fail to function or could require additional force.

If a person in need of a epinephrine injection doesn’t get the correct amount of the drug, their symptoms could worsen, with potentially lethal results.

Mylan says its testing of the recalled devices has not turned up any units with this defect, but the recall is “being expanded to include additional lots as a precautionary measure out of an abundance of caution.”

The devices affected by the recall are EpiPens with strengths of 0.3 mg and 0.15 mg.

According to Mylan, these are the specific lot numbers and expiration dates that make up the U.S. part of the recall:

Note that the recall does not include the generic version of the auto-injector released by Mylan in late 2016.

Rather than discard the recalled EpiPens, Mylan is suggesting that patients who have one of the devices on the above list to hold onto their injector until they have secured a replacement.

Replacement EpiPens can be obtained from your pharmacy, if it has the auto-injector (or its generic equivalent) in stock.

People with questions about the recall can call Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 or via email at

Mylan says it will be posting more information on this recall on

Source: Consumer Reviews

Wells Fargo Still Has A Lot Of Fake Account Fiasco Investigations To Deal With

Wells Fargo may believe that its recently announced $110 million settlement will put an end to the many federal lawsuits over the bank’s fake account fiasco, but that may be wishful thinking. In fact, the financial institution is still party to nearly a dozen investigations and lawsuits. 

CNN reports that despite taking steps to put the ordeal behind it — ditching high-pressure sales goals, former CEO John Stumpf’s “retirement,” the forfeiture of executive bonuses, and other measures — the company still faces outside probes from federal and state regulators, as well as internal investigations.

CNN provides a full list of the investigation currently facing Wells Fargo, but here are three of the larger ones:

• Department of Justice Criminal Investigation – Back in September, federal prosecutors in U.S. attorney’s offices announced they were in the early stages of an investigation related to the bank’s alleged improper sales tactics that started in 2013

Sources said at the time that the probe could eventually lead to criminal or civil charges. So far, prosecutors have issued a subpoena for documents and materials related to the sales practices.

• Whistleblowers — Wells Fargo also faces separate investigations and lawsuits related to whistleblowers.

The bank confirmed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in November that the agency has been looking into the fake account fiasco.

While the SEC didn’t provide details on the probe, it was thought to be related to whether or not Wells misled investors by promoting the financial benefits of its cross-selling policies (i.e., getting employees to sell lines of credit to checking account customers, mortgages to credit card customers, etc.) while failing to properly disclose that it was aware of employees who had gamed this system by opening fraudulent, unauthorized accounts in customers’ names.

The investigation could also be tied to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for the SEC to look into whether Wells’ violated federal whistleblower protection laws after employee claim they were fired for reporting the bank’s bad deeds, CNN reports.

Speaking of whistleblowers, several former employees have filed lawsuits against the bank claiming wrongful termination after calling the bank’s ethics hotline, leading lawmakers to urge the Department of Labor to inquire about the company’s actions.

These allegations also prompted the DOL to review allegations that the bank violated federal laws by not paying overtime to employees, CNN notes.

• Internal Reviews — Wells Fargo isn’t just being probed from the outside. as investigations continue internally related to the scope of the fake account fiasco.

CNN points out that Wells Fargo agreed to review accounts opened between 2009 to 2010 to see if they are legitimate or a product of high-pressure sales tactic.

The company’s board also recently announced the firing of several executives and said it wouldn’t pay others $32 million in bonuses.

In addition to these lawsuits and investigation, CNN reports that Wells also faces inquiries from several states, shareholders, and Congress.

Not Quite Settled

When Wells Fargo announced the $110 million settlement in a California class-action lawsuit over these fake accounts, the bank said it expected the deal would cover all affected customers, putting an end to the dozen or so other federal consumer lawsuits.

However, lawyers representing plaintiffs in some of those cases are skeptical.

Zane Christensen, an attorney representing plaintiffs in one lawsuit currently pending in a Utah federal court, recently told Consumerist that he does not believe the proposed settlement serves the purpose of satisfying all injured parties.

“The parties have not conducted any discovery to determine the full nature or extent of the damages caused from the fraudulent acts of Wells Fargo,” explained Christensen. “Therefore, without this information, we do not believe this settlement will make all injured parties whole.”

Source: Consumer Reviews

Number Of Big Retail Bankruptcies In 2017 Already Equal To All Of Last Year

We’re only three months into the year and already the retail battlefield is littered with the corpses of nine brands that have filed for bankruptcy — the same number that filed in all of 2016.

Gordmans, hhgregg, RadioShack, Gander Mountain, BCBG Max Azria, MC Sports, Eastern Outfitters, Wet Seal, and The Limited have all filed for bankruptcy in just the first few months of 2017. At this rate, the industry is on pace to far surpass the high-water mark of 18 major retail bankruptcies set in 2009, notes CNBC.

Two more retailers may be joining their friends on the garbage heap soon as well: Recent reports have indicated that Payless and Bebe are both struggling and could head in the bankruptcy direction in the near future.

So why is 2017 shaping up to be so bad for retailers? Part of the problem — as we’ve said before and we’re bound to say again — is the lure of convenient online shopping.

However, CNBC brings up another factor that might play in to the recent onslaught of bankruptcies: Many of this year’s filings are from retailers that were purchased in the past by private equity firms, according to consulting firm AlixPartners.

When these firms agree to buy out retailers, they often use both equity and debt to do so, which can leave the company struggling with debt right off the bat.

Changes made to the bankruptcy code in 2005 may also be leading some retailers to rush into liquidating their inventories. Previously, retailers could remain in bankruptcy protection for more than a year, giving them time to decide on whether to keep or close locations. Now, they only have up to 210 days, leading some chains to make this decision too soon.

Things will only get worse, industry insiders say, amid rising interest rates that will make it hard to refinance those debts.

And while chains like Macy’s, Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, Game Stop, and Abercrombie & Fitch are all remaining afloat — for now — those companies have each announced store closures this year, paring back their physical footprint to keep their brands viable.

Closed stores may also have a tainting effect on otherwise strong retailers. If a mall or shopping center has too many vacancies, it means less foot traffic for the stores that do remain.

The figure of Amazon, as always, looms large for each and every one of these retailers. If they want to stay alive, they’ve got to compete with their own improved online shopping experiences, if they can. Because while you can surely buy a shirt from Macy’s online, at Amazon you could buy a shirt, a pallet of cat food, refills for your razor, and a tablet in one fell swoop.

What remains to be seen is how much further the bricks-and-mortar retail industry can sink. Many chain retailers spent the ’90s and early 2000s investing heavily in expanding their stores (and the size of those stores) while ignoring the coming threat of online retail. At some point, we’ll reach something akin to an equilibrium, but it could be awfully painful getting there.

Source: Consumer Reviews

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Pinky-Swears He Won’t Tell Anyone Else To Go See His Movies

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin raised eyebrows recently when — in the face of federal ethics rules — he suggested that parents should take their kids to see the LEGO Batman Movie, one of many films on which the former Goldman Sachs executive has a producer credit. Mnuchin has already tried to downplay the incident, but today he officially told a government ethics watchdog that he won’t do it again, for real.

In a letter [PDF] to the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Mnuchin restates his contention that he was simply answering a direct question when some say he committed the ethical no-no of using public office for private gain.

At a televised event for Axios, the host had finished the interview by asking Mnuchin to recommend a movie to see.

“Well, I’m not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in,” Mnuchin admitted, indicating his awareness of the ethics rule, “so I just want to have the legal disclosure that you’ve asked me the question and I am not promoting any product. But you should send all your kids to LEGO Batman.”

Today’s letter acknowledges that maybe the phrase “send all your kids to LEGO Batman” could have been interpreted as Mnuchin “encourag[ing] the questioner to see a film with which I was associated.”

“I should not have made that statement,” he writes. “I want to assure you that I was aware of the rule against using public office to promote a particular product, as I specifically acknowledged in the interview, and in responding to the question posed by the interviewer, it was not my intention to make a product endorsement.”

Mnuchin says he subsequently responded to a similar question without mentioning LEGO Batman, Suicide Squad, Keanu, Batman v Superman, Mad Max: Fury Road, Sully, or any of the dozens of other movies he was involved in during his brief but prolific dalliance with Hollywood.

“I fully appreciate the core ethics principle that public office is a public trust and that no employee may use his office for his own or others’ private gain,” said the Secretary. “I want to reassure you that I will exercise greater caution to avoid any suggestion that I do not take these important rules seriously.”

Mnuchin’s movie comment would probably not have received such scrutiny had they not come shortly after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway exhorted shoppers on national TV to purchase apparel from Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

Source: Consumer Reviews

FDA Shuts Down Source Of Contaminated Soy Butter That Sickened 26 Kids

Now that 29 people, 26 of whom are children, have been confirmed sick from E. coli in contaminated I.M. Healthy brand soy butter, at least we know which company actually made the recalled products. A Food and Drug Administration inspection of the facility earlier this month found insects, dirty and broken equipment, and general filth.

The FDA announced that it “suspend[ed] the food facility registration” of the manufacturer, Dixie Dew in Erlanger, KY. Since that means no products can leave the facility, translated from bureaucrat-ese, the plant has been effectively shut down.

Dixie Dew is a contract manufacturer and packager. It processes a wide variety of food products, including marinara sauce, dessert glaze toppings, meat glazes, and dry mixes.

“Though we produce many nationally known products, client confidentiality is of extreme importance to all parties and prevents us naming names,” the company says on its website.

Inspectors visited the plant at the beginning of March, and found that it skipped several steps normally taken to prevent pathogens from contaminating and growing in packaged food products.

For example, the FDA reported:

• The company doesn’t bother with a “kill step,” like cooking the product to a high temperature, when it leaves soy paste behind from a production batch overnight or over the weekend, then picks production back up the following work day.

• According to plant supervisors, one machine used for mixing has been malfunctioning, shutting off mid-cycle, for the last 15 years.

• Thermometers used during production were either malfunctioning or had never been checked to find out whether they were accurate.

• A “clear liquid,” identified as water from a leaking overhead pipe, dripped from the processing room ceiling and onto the soy paste processing equipment during the entire production run that the FDA observed.

• The inspectors observed floors, walls, and ceilings were covered in soy butter residue from previous batches of the product, and there was also standing water and “black and brown apparent filth” on the processing room floor.

• The processing equipment hadn’t been taken apart and sanitized since Dec. 2015.

• Mops used for bathrooms and processing facilities intermixed and in terrible shape.

• The plastic tote used to transport soy oil had “brown residue” and employees reported that it was never cleaned.

There’s a lot more in the full inspection report, which is very readable (except for the trade secret redactions) and may make you want to grind your own peanut or soy butter at home.

Bill Marler, an attorney who handles cases of food poisoning and the publisher of Food Safety News, told the publication that the inspection report seemed familiar. He noted that the conditions sound a lot like the Peanut Corporation of America plant, which produced Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter that was officially linked to 714 illnesses and nine deaths, though the total was most likely much higher. In that case, the former owner of the plant, his brother, and three other employees were sent to federal prison for their part in knowingly shipping peanut butter made under gross conditions.

“After reading the Form 483, I would recommend that the principals of Dixie Dew lawyer up with a good criminal defense counsel,” Marler told FSN, “because assuming the Trump Administration is as aggressive as the Obama Administration was with respect to investigation and prosecution under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, they should be worried.”

No one knows yet how the current administration plans to treat cases of food contamination. We can only hope that the people running the relevant agencies believe that a company should be punished for manufacturing a product marketed for children with life-threatening allergies in a filth-encrusted room. The question will be whether they end up prosecuting the company principals personally for crimes.

Source: Consumer Reviews

Twitter Ditching Default Egg Profile Photos Because They’re Tied To “Negative Behavior”

If you want to harass your fellow internet denizens on Twitter, you’ll have to do it without the cover of an anonymous egg in your profile photo: The social media site says it’s doing away with its default avatar, partly because it’s become associated with online harassment and other bad behaviors.

The original idea of the egg photo was a reference to Twitter users hatching from their default profile with brand new baby Tweets, the company writes, but things have changed. One problem with the ovule is that it’s come to represent “negative behavior” for many users, and Twitter doesn’t want to let that prevent new users from expressing themselves.

“We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts,” Twitter says. “This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.”

The company also says it’s trying to update its brand and “help prompt more self-expression.” The new default photo — a faceless head on a gray background — feels more like “an empty state or placeholder,” Twitter says, “and we hope it encourages people to upload images that express yourself.”

Twitter didn’t make this decision lightly, it says, outlining in detail the process it went through to make sure that the new profile photo felt generic, universal, unbranded, and inclusive, among other things.

For example, once the company landed on a faceless head, it wanted to make sure that the figure didn’t seem gender-specific.

“We reviewed many variations of our figure, altering both the head and shoulders to feel more inclusive to all genders,” the company writes, before finally settling on the new image.

Twitter has rolled out a series of updates aimed at online safety and curbing harassment lately, including an effort to proactively identify abusive accounts and a “mute” feature it first rolled out in November and recently expanded. Whether or not giving online harassers a different photo to hide behind actually helps anything remains to be seen.

Source: Consumer Reviews

Prepare For Deluge Of Fax Spam On Machines You Haven’t Used Since 2004

In 2005, just about the time many of us were finally giving up on fax machines, the ever-hip Congress passed the Junk Fax Prevention Act, severely restricting the use of fax machines for advertising purposes. However, a federal appeals court ruled today — when there are college students who don’t even know what a fax is — that the FCC overstepped its authority in writing the actual regulations tied to this law.

While the law effectively outlaws the sending of unsolicited ads via fax machine, the FCC rule takes the additional step of requiring an opt-out notice on faxed ads, even when the recipient had agreed to receiving these ads.

That may not sound too restrictive to you. After all, a lot of legitimate companies that blast out marketing emails now include links for recipients to unsubscribe.

But some faxed-based advertisers apparently disregarded this rule, and were sued for not giving recipients of their ads the ability to stop using them. When one of these companies asked the FCC to declare that the opt-out requirement didn’t apply to ads where the recipients had explicitly given their permission to receive the ads, the Commission maintained its earlier position, but agreed to retroactively waive application of the rule through April 2015.

The affected faxers — who apparently still exist, though we have no idea who is still getting all these faxes — appealed their petition to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled today [PDF] that yes, the FCC had gone too far in its rulemaking.

“Although the [Junk Fax Prevention] Act requires an opt-out notice on unsolicited fax advertisements, the Act does not require a similar opt-out notice on solicited fax advertisements – that is, those fax advertisements sent with the recipient’s prior express invitation or permission,” explains Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the majority of the three-judge panel. “Nor does the Act grant the FCC authority to require opt-out notices on solicited fax advertisements.”

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Nina Pillard says the majority is taking a too-limited view of the FCC’s authority under the Junk Fax law to prevent “unsolicited” fax ads.

“The FCC reasonably concluded that opt-out notices are needed on all fax ads so that recipients can easily limit or withdraw their ‘invitation or permission,’” explains Pillard. “Regulation of ‘unsolicited’ advertising requires a mechanism for discerning whether someone who okayed fax ads at some point in the past is still willing to receive an advertiser’s further faxes.”

Without this opt-out requirement, Pillard contends that the court has made it more difficult for recipients of these ads to “control what comes out of their fax machines… precisely the sort of anti-consumer harm Congress intended to prevent.”

Source: Consumer Reviews

Comcast, AT&T: We Totally Respect Your Privacy Even Though We Helped Kill The Law Protecting It

The FCC rule that would have prohibited your ISP from collecting and selling your personal data without your permission is pretty much dead, leaving consumers to fend for themselves. Members of the House and Senate didn’t all spontaneously come up with the same talking points about why the FCC rule was unfair, though; they had help from lobbyists and telecom corporations along the way. And now some of the biggest of those corporations are pinky-swearing that just because they can abuse the heck out of your data now doesn’t mean they will.

That’s the gist of a post on Comcast’s corporate blog today from the company’s chief privacy officer, Gerard Lewis.

Comcast is committed to privacy principles that are “in line with the FTC’s regime,” Lewis writes. “We have committed not to share our customers’ sensitive information unless we first obtain their affirmative, opt-in consent.”

“We want to make sure that our customers understand how strong our privacy protections really are,” Lewis concludes, writing that Comcast is about to revise its privacy policy “to make more clear and prominent that we do not sell our customers’ individual web browsing information to third parties and that we do not share sensitive information unless our customers have affirmatively opted in to allow that to occur.”

Lewis links to a press release [PDF] from January, co-signed by all the big telecom companies and trade (lobbying) groups, including Comcast, to prove his point.

“For over twenty years, ISPs have protected their consumers’ data with the strongest pro-consumer policies in the internet ecosystem,” the release reads, appearing not to take into account that time AT&T charged extra for privacy, or that time Verizon tracked everyone with supercookies, or that other time a whole bunch of ISPs got caught redirecting users’ searches.

AT&T exec Bob Quinn echoed the sentiment in a post on AT&T’s Public Policy blog.

Because the FCC’s rule had not yet gone into effect, Quinn writes, consumers didn’t actually lose anything. After spending several paragraphs explaining why former FCC chair Tom Wheeler and the rules he approved were awful, Quinn continues by explaining why you should totally trust AT&T with your data.

“AT&T was one of the first companies to move away from a privacy policy that looked like a legal document and towards a policy that communicated our practices to our customers in words that the consumer didn’t need a lawyer to help decipher,” Quinn writes. Which would be useful, except that privacy policies don’t mean your data is private, and also not even 2% of users read them ever.

Quinn also challenges what of your data can actually count as “sensitive.” AT&T doesn’t include location data in that bucket, but the FCC did.

If the government believes that location data is sensitive and requires more explicit consumer disclosures and permissions, then those protections should apply to all players that have access to location data, whether an ISP or edge player or search engine,” Quinn writes, which is a pretty solid sentiment.

“If the government bans the ISP from that data but allows, for example, OS providers, app developers and everyone else who has software running on your phone to collect your location and internet data, use it, share or sell it,” Quinn continues, “that does not protect but rather confuses the consumer.”

Which again, is in one sense, true: if your data is sensitive, it should be treated as such no matter who holds it. That would be really nice! But that’s not the way any of our laws work.

Every existing privacy law we have depends on two key things: what data is being collected, and who is collecting it. Your health data may be covered by the law if your doctor gathers it, but it is not if your Fitbit does. Is that confusing? It sure as heck is! But that’s the way our entire regulatory system has shaken out.

Moreover, The FCC cannot regulate edge providers like Google and Facebook; that falls to the FTC. But the FTC likewise cannot regulate Title II common carriers, which all broadband providers now legally are. That means falling back on the FTC as the regulator of choice for your ISP is a disingenuous move at best.

As we’ve observed before, meanwhile, the industry spent a great deal of money making sure that the resolution to overturn the FCC’s rule would have friends in Congress.

The Verge compiled a full list of how much each of the member of the House and Senate who voted for the CRA received in donations from the telecommunications industry in 2016 (or, for Senators, their most recent previous election).

The one and only listed member — out of a total 265 who voted to overturn the rule — for who the number was $0 is the one appointed in Feb. 2017 to fill the seat former Sen. Jeff Sessions vacated when he became Attorney General. The other 264 Senators and Representatives who voted to roll back privacy for consumers all received some kind of donation from the industry.

At the high end of donations we have Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY), the Senate Majority Leader, whose campaign received $251,110 from the industry. He’s followed by Sen. John Thune (SD), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee; his campaign netted $215,000 from these sources.

Another 10 Senators who received more than $100,000 from the telecom industry — Roy Blunt (MO), Thad Cochran (MS), John Cornyn (TX), Chuck Grassley (IA), Orrin Hatch (UT), Ron Johnson (WI), Jerry Moran (KS), Pat Roberts (KS), Pat Toomey (PA), and Roger Wicker (MS) — also all voted to overturn the FCC rules.

In the House, the numbers are a little smaller — but there are also hundreds more Representatives than Senators. Rep. Greg Walden (OR), chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, tops out the list with a cool $155,100 in telecom donations. Re. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, clocks in second with $121,750.

They were followed by another 35 Representatives whose campaigns received between $40,000 and $120,000 from the telecom industry, including: Reps. Gus Bilirakis (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Susan Brooks (IN), Doug Collins (GA), Barbara Comstock (VA), Kevin Cramer (ND), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Rodney Davis (IL), Bill Flores (TX), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Steven Guthrie (NY), Richard Hudson (NC), William Hurd (TX), Darrell Issa (CA), Bill Johnson (OH), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Bob Latta (OH), Billy Long (MO), Kevin McCarthy (CA), Martha McSally (AZ), Patrick Meehan (PA), Cathy McMorris-Rogers (WA), Markwayne Mullin (OK), Pete Olson (TX), Erik Paulsen (MN), Bruce Poliquin (ME), Jim Renacci (OH), Pete Sessions (TX), John Shimkus (IL), Jason Smith (MO), Lamar Smith (TX), Fred Upton (MI), Ann Wagner (MO), and Mimi Walters (CA).

Usually if a company spends a lot of money getting a law passed or repealed, it’s because they see a way to make more money out of the action they support. But just because internet service providers have literally been caught doing those things before in the absence of rules preventing it doesn’t mean they’ll try again, right? Surely we can simply trust our oligopolistic providers to do what’s right, even though we don’t have the option to leave them for another carrier if they don’t?

Source: Consumer Reviews

Dunkin’ Donuts Franchises Settle Lawsuits Over Butter Substitute

When you ask for a buttered bagel, what do you mean? Do you want a spread made from the milk of cows, or would you be fine with any spreadable facsimile thereof? A man who wanted the former sued Dunkin’ Donuts last year after getting a bagel that was slathered in butter substitute, and will now receive a settlement in the case.

A man from the Worcester, MA, area filed two lawsuits last year in county court, accusing more than 20 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the state of serving people butter substitute as butter, reports The Boston Globe.

The suits sought class-action status to represent any Dunkin’ customer who “ordered a baked product, such as a bagel, with butter, but instead received margarine or butter substitute between June 24, 2012, and June 24, 2016.”

His lawyer admits that the legal fight may seem like a small thing to fight about in the grand scheme of things, but hey, some people really like their butter, he told the Globe.

“The main point of the lawsuit is to stop the practice of representing one thing and selling a different thing,” he explained to the Globe. “It’s a minor thing, but at the same time, if somebody goes in and makes a point to order butter for the bagel… they don’t want margarine or some other kind of chemical substitute.”

An attorney for one group of 17 franchises involved in the lawsuit said a settlement has already been reached, though he declined to say if the plaintiff will receive any money. He did say that the stores he represents have changed how they provide butter, though he declined to provide specifics.

“The litigant is satisfied with the operational changes made in those stores,” he told the Globe.

A spokesperson for Dunkin’ said the company wasn’t aware of the lawsuit, but that most stores in Massachusetts carry individual whipped butter packets that customers can use instead of a butter-substitute vegetable spread.

This isn’t the first time Dunkin’ has faced backlash over butter substitutes: Back in 2013, another Massachusetts resident was highly displeased to find margarine on his bagel, which he wanted buttered.

At the time, Dunkin’ said the switch was about being safe.

“For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature,” a spokesperson explained then, “which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry.” Yes. the company recommends that their stores serve individual butter packets with the bagel instead.

Source: Consumer Reviews

Apple Update Fixes Flaw That Caused 911 Cyberattack

Last fall, 911 emergency-response service centers in a dozen states were the victims of a massive cyberattack that resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of iPhones repeatedly calling 911 without the knowledge or direction of owners. Nearly five months later, Apple say it has fixed the apparent flaw that made the attack possible. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple’s latest iOS update — iOS 10.3 — is aimed at preventing similar cyberattacks from happening in the future.

The October incident, which lasted for nearly 12 hours and affected call centers across the country, was allegedly caused when an 18-year-old wrote code that exploited a feature in iOS devices that allowed users to click on a phone number and immediately make a call.

While the total number of calls received isn’t known, many of the centers reported receiving hundreds more than they would on a normal day.

For example, the Journal has previously reported that a center in Surprise, AZ, fielded 174 calls in just one hour. The same time the day before only yielded 24 calls.

Apple tells the WSJ that it first began working on the issue with app developers, asking them to remove the capability.

The new update, according to the tech giant, completely removes that capability from apps and requires users to provide a second confirmation that they actually want to place a call.

Source: Consumer Reviews