Ransomware Spiked Even Before WannaCry

    Ransomware, a threat that has been in the news in recent weeks, grew aggressively during the first quarter of the year, according to Kaspersky Lab. The firm found that ransomware attacks increased 350 percent. The firm identified 11 new cryptor families and 55,679 new modifications, according to Information Management.

    The company said that the United States was the target of the most mobile malware and that Svpeng ransomware was the most common threat. Kaspersky found that 218,625 mobile ransomware files were identified during the quarter; that easily outdistanced the 61,832 seen during fourth quarter of 2016.

    The WannaCry ransomware attacks this month likely were caused by the Lazarus Group, which works out of North Korea, according to Forbes. The Register suggests that the authors speak Chinese, however.

    Tizen Hanging On, But Not Thriving

    Samsung’s Tizen operating system (OS) never caught on as an alternative to iOS and Android as the go-to alternative for mobile devices. It soldiers on, however. CNET’s Shara Tibken reported from the developers’ conference, which was held in San Francisco. Good news for Samsung: The OS has found a niche in internet-connected home appliances, televisions and the Gear smartwatches.

    The big problem the company faces is that there is no real room for another operating system in addition to the two heavyweights. This means that the marginal players will have trouble attracting developers. That leads to a chicken and egg scenario: Lack of success means few developers and few developers makes success unlikely.

    Tizen is not completely out of the phone business. A Tizen-driven phone, the Z4, was introduced last week. The company is specializing in low-budget devices for emerging economies.

    Smartphones Enjoy a Good First Quarter

    The smartphone market, which had been going through some turbulence, had a good first quarter, according to Gartner.

    The firm found that 380 million smartphone units were sold during the quarter, which is a 9.1 percent increase compared to the first three months of 2016. The commentary suggests that people are willing to spend to upgrade. If so, that represents a change: The pause in the market was thought due to the lack of features exciting enough to lead to upgrading.

    Gartner said that the current dynamic is helping Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, who offer desirable features at low prices. Those three vendors follow leader Samsung and Apple. Samsung’s market share shrank from 23.3 percent to 20.7 percent and Apple’s from 14.8 percent to 13.7 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2016, Gartner reported.

    Drone Crashes into Seats at Padre Game

    It’s an eventful time for drones. The most dramatic moment was last Sunday in San Diego: A drone flying over Petco Park during a Padres game crashed into a seat in the upper deck, according to ZDNet. The video suggests that nobody was hurt.

    For a while, it appeared that efforts to regulate drones were progressing. That was until May 19, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which the story said has been regulating drones since 2015, is not legally entitled to do so.

    Congress may be taking a lead on the issue, however. On Thursday, the Drone Federalism Act was introduced. The good news is that the move was bipartisan. The act calls for establishment of a process among federal, state, local and tribal governments for establishment of rules.

    5G Americas: Economic Output of 5G Will Be $12.3 Trillion by 2035

    During his keynote at The 3rd Global 5G Event in Tokyo this week, 5G Americas President Chris Pearson said global economic output made possible by 5G will reach $12.3 trillion by 2035. At that point, Pearson said, the 5G value chain will be worth $3.5 trillion and support 22 million jobs. 5G will play major roles in energy, transportation, smart cities, health efforts and public safety, he said.

    The organization forecasts that spending on Internet of Things (IoT) devices will reach $1.7 trillion in 2020.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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