Microsoft invokes six-month deadline to replace vulnerable mobile apps

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Microsoft on Tuesday introduced a new policy to bolster the security of the applications available in its various marketplaces. 

Effective immediately, app developers must push an updated app within 180 days of being shown proof of a "critical or important security issue" that is not being attacked in the wild, according to the new policy.

Missing that deadline could result in the app being booted from Microsoft's distribution platforms: Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, Office Store, and Azure Marketplace.

"This assumes the app is not currently being exploited in the wild," Dustin Childs, a spokesman for Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, wrote. "In those cases, we'll work with the developer to have an update available as soon as possible and may remove the app from the store earlier."

Childs admitted that, although unlikely, developers may be unable to issue a fix within the allotted time. In those cases, Microsoft will work with the app creator to deploy a replacement as quickly as possible.

"We expect that developers will address all vulnerabilities much faster than 180 days," the policy states. "To date, no apps have come close to exceeding this deadline."

Microsoft is the latest tech company to suggest a vulnerability fix deadline. Google announced in May that software makers should have seven days to patch "critical" issues under active exploitation

But Microsoft's new policy appears to be the first company that hosts mobile app stores to act in this way. Will Apple and Google (maker of Android) respond next?

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