Summer really is almost over. It’s back to school during the next week or so for many kids. But people in telecom and IT didn't have much of a summer vacation. Our summer was filled with a fair amount of news and worthwhile commentary, both good and bad. Here are some of the highlights from this week.
Fiber Is Winning
ABI Research released a study suggesting that fiber-based broadband subscriptions will reach 19 percent worldwide by the end of this year.
The firm found that the pie is expanding; however, Fiber is growing its percentage of the pie at the expense of DSL. ABI said that DSL lines dropped by 3 million, while fiber rose from 32.9 million to 37.6 million. The shift was apparent in both developed and undeveloped areas, according to CED Magazine.
Bring Broadband to More People
A good case to demonstrate the rise of fiber use is CenturyLink, though glass undoubtedly isn’t the only conduit the company is using. FierceTelecom reports that the carrier is working with the government to bring broadband to homes and businesses in underserved areas.
The site reports that the company is accepting $54 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (FCC CAF) to bring broadband to 92,000 locations in 33 of the 37 states in which it offers broadband service. The total investment, when combined with CenturyLink’s portion, will be $108 million over three years. The project will provide subscribers with 4 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream service.
Malware Explodes on Android
According to eWeek, McAfee found that malware threats to the Android operating system rose 35 percent during the second quarter. The problems were widespread:
The continued proliferation of SMS-stealing banking malware, fraudulent dating and entertainment apps, weaponized legitimate apps and malicious apps posing as useful tools contributed to the record increase in threats.
According to the story, McAfee said that the growth rate was as high as it was early last year. Overall, though, McAfee reported a 16 percent increase in suspicious URLs and a 50 percent increase in digitally signed malware samples. The company reported a doubling in new ransomware samples compared to the first quarter, which raised the number for 2013 to above the cumulative total before the start of the year.
Securing Payment Cards
Earlier this month, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) released proposed updates to PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). The changes are expected to be finalized in November and will take effect at the beginning of next year.
DataGuidance has a reaction piece that speaks to these updates. Attorney Corey M. Dennis of the Governo Law Firm said that the updated PCI SSC will increase focus on vendor compliance and require more penetration testing. It aims, Dennis said, to make better security a business-as-usual procedure, not something out of the ordinary. Sam De Silva, a partner at Manches LLP, concurred. He said that the goal is to move security from a “checkbox” approach to one governed by a true security assessment mentality.
And finally, MIT Technology Review reports that a group of companies, including VeriFone, Sonic Notify, Crinkle and Animal Systems, is building applications that communicate via sound waves. The applications, which are different and highly creative, generally aim at the category focused upon by the nascent near-field communications (NFC) sector. One app, Way2ride by VeriFone, allows users to tap their phones near an NFC reader to pay their taxi fare. Highly creative, indeed.