In what I would describe as an unusual but interesting move by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on January 4, 2022, it issued a warning to companies “to remediate Log4j security vulnerability” or face an enforcement action for failing to do so.

In the warning, the FTC acknowledged that the Log4j vulnerability “is being widely exploited by a growing set of attackers.” The exploitation by threat actors “risks a loss or breach of personal information, financial loss, and other irreversible harms.” According to the FTC, there are several laws that require companies to take reasonable steps to mitigate known software vulnerabilities, including the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. “It is critical that companies and their vendors relying on Log4j act now, in order to reduce the likelihood of harm to consumers and to avoid FTC legal action.”

Since this is a known vulnerability that can be remediated, if companies fail to update the software, “The FTC intends to use its full legal authority to pursue companies that fail to take reasonable steps to protect consumer data from exposure as a result of Log4j, or similar known vulnerabilities in the future.”

An unusual but very strong message from the FTC that is prudent to follow.