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Vulnerabilities / Threats

LifeLock Pulls Apps Over PCI Compliance Failure

Sensitive data stored in LifeLock Wallet apps and on company servers are proactively wiped after the company warns it wasn't being stored securely.

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Warning to users of the mobile wallet apps offered by LifeLock: The next time you open the app on your smartphone or tablet, all data stored therein will be deleted.

That unusual move was announced Friday by the identity theft monitoring service provider, which said it's also removed the application from Apple's App Store, the Amazon Apps store, and Google Play. "We have determined that certain aspects of the mobile app may not be fully compliant with payment card industry (PCI) security standards," chairman and CEO Todd Davis told customers in an "Important Update About LifeLock Wallet" blog post. "I personally apologize for the inconvenience."

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) stipulates that any organization that stores or transmits cardholder data must appropriately secure that information, including locking down all the keys used to encrypt the data.

Also Friday, LifeLock filed a Securities and Exchange Commission form 8-K -- for notifying shareholders of any major corporate events -- in which it said that it planned to reissue the apps after they've been reengineered.

"We have temporarily suspended the Wallet mobile application, and are deleting the data -- encrypted or otherwise -- from our servers, until we can operate the Wallet mobile application in accordance with those standards," the filing said. "We have no indication that the data included in the Wallet mobile application servers was compromised."

[Malware-bearing ads are a growing problem, and Congress wants the industry to be more proactive. Read Senators Slam Online Advertisers As 'Malvertising' Spikes.]

In its SEC filing, LifeLock warned shareholders that it informed the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday that it was storing data in violation of PCI requirements. That notification was required since LifeLock reached a $12 million agreement with the FTC and 35 state attorneys general in 2010 to settle charges that the fraud alerts it put on accounts didn't block most types of identity theft, as well as charges that LifeLock made deceptive claims about its ID theft monitoring service and data protection efficacy.

"It is possible that this PCI non-compliance of the Wallet mobile application could result in a determination by the FTC that we are not in full compliance with our FTC consent order," LifeLock said in the SEC filing.

After the filing was released, LifeLock's stock price tumbled 18% in trading Monday.

As of December 2013, LifeLock Wallet -- available for Android and iOS -- had been downloaded 3.6 million times. LifeLock acquired the software through its December 2013 purchase of the mobile wallet developer Lemon for $43 million. When the purchase was announced, LifeLock said the apps allowed consumers to "store a complete digital copy of their personal wallet contents in one location," including credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, ATM card numbers, and loyalty card data.

Since its 2005 inception, LifeLock -- which charges $110 per year or more for its identity theft monitoring service -- has been beset by tepid reviews and criticism that it doesn't do anything that consumers can't already do for themselves for free.

In April, LifeLock began advertising a senior IT auditor position with PCI-related responsibilities. "This role provides management with a review of information systems and ensures compliance with PCI-DSS, SOX and FTC requirements," the job listing read.

A LifeLock spokesman didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment about whether the LifeLock Wallet announcement related in any way to the job it was attempting to fill, or if the company had previously undertaken or reviewed PCI compliance audits -- for example, as part of its due diligence before acquiring Lemon.

Next-gen intrusion-prevention systems have fuller visibility into applications and data. But do newer firewalls make IPS redundant? Also in the IPS Makeover issue of Dark Reading Tech Digest: Find out what our 2013 Strategic Security Survey respondents have to say about IPS and firewalls (free registration required).

Mathew Schwartz served as the InformationWeek information security reporter from 2010 until mid-2014. View Full Bio

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Randy Naramore
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Randy Naramore,
User Rank: Ninja
5/22/2014 | 9:27:34 AM
Lifelock pulls apps over PCI
This will potentially cost lifelock alot of money in fines for non compliance with PCI, as well as loss of reputation with consumers. If people are subject to data being wiped out with this app they will find other alternatives. Maybe an opening for other companies to get some market share.
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