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Judge Dismisses Part of FTC Case Against D-Link

A federal judge has dismissed three of the six counts in a complaint filed in January by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against D-Link. The FTC accused the Taiwan-based networking equipment manufacturer of failing to implement proper security measures and making deceptive claims about the security of its products.

The FTC said D-Link’s promotional materials and device interfaces falsely advertised the company’s products as being highly secure when in reality they were plagued with vulnerabilities that put consumers at risk.

The FTC’s accusations include failure to take reasonable steps to secure the software running on its routers and IP cameras, falsely claiming that it took steps to prevent unauthorized access, and falsely claiming that the devices were secure – both in promotional materials and in the devices’ graphical user interface (GUI).

D-Link immediately denied the allegations and retained the Cause of Action Institute, a non-profit law firm that represents companies in government investigations and litigation, to help it fight against the charges, which it described as “unwarranted and baseless.”

The networking equipment manufacturer and Cause of Action announced this week that a federal judge dismissed three of the six counts after the defendant’s lawyers argued in March that the case should be dismissed due to the lack of facts supporting the FTC’s claims.

CoA’s Michael Pepson pointed out that the FTC’s allegations were vague and unsubstantiated, and they did not mention any actual breach of D-Link products or harm to customers.

The judge dismissed the counts related to failure to take reasonable steps to secure routers and cameras, misrepresentation of security in promotional materials for IP cameras, and misrepresentations in router GUIs. The other three counts “state a plausible claim,” the judge said.

“We are grateful to the Court for taking the time to hear the arguments, carefully study the questions presented, and issue a well-reasoned decision on D-Link Systems’ motion to dismiss. Cause of Action Institute remains proud to represent D-Link Systems in this litigation,” Pepson said in response to the ruling.

The FTC can amend its complaint by October 20.

D-Link also announced this week that it has released a firmware update for its DIR-850L routers to address several vulnerabilities disclosed by a researcher earlier this month.

Related: Vulnerabilities, Backdoors Found in D-Link Mobile Hotspot

Related: D-Link Failed to Patch HNAP Flaws in Routers

Related: D-Link Patches Critical Flaw in DIR Routers

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.