FCC warns of security risks

March 26, 2024  - By
Image: FCC logo

Image: FCC logo

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating whether the use of Russian and Chinese foreign satellite systems by U.S. mobile phones and other devices poses security threats.

The FCC has concerns that U.S. handheld devices are receiving and processing GNSS signals from satellites controlled by foreign adversaries in violation of commission rules.

The FCC is seeking answers from handset manufacturers Apple, Google, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and others that collectively cover more than 90% of the U.S. smartphone marketplace.

“There is no established record of what security threats, if any, these signals carry and whether the manufacturers of handheld devices are processing these signals in violation of the Commission’s rules,” an FCC spokesperson said in a statement.

Representative Mike Gallagher, chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, wrote FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel earlier this week raising concern about reports that U.S. cell phones were receiving and processing signals from Chinese and Russian satellites.

The FCC has only approved U.S. phones to receive and process signals from the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and the European Galileo GNSS.