Sun, 10 April 2016
On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started a three-year process of making our mobile internet even faster and better. The government is buying underused TV airwaves and selling it to mobile carriers for billions of dollars. These radio waves—also known as spectrum—will shape mobile US connectivity as streaming video continues to swallow up bandwidth across the country and as we inch closer to 5G internet speeds. In this podcast, we discuss the auction process.
Ransomware Evolution is Really Bad News - Angela Alcorn
Recently, 10 hospitals in Maryland operated without access to their central network because their domain servers were locked by a ransomware known as Samsam
Victims paid more than $24 million to ransomware criminals in 2015 — and that's just the beginning – Dan Turkel
The DOJ revealed that the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) had received nearly 7,700 public complaints regarding ransomware since 2005, totaling $57.6 million in damages. Those damages include ransoms paid — generally $200 to $10,000, according to the FBI — as well as costs incurred in dealing with the attack and estimated value of data lost. In 2015 alone, victims paid over $24 million across nearly 2,500 cases reported to the IC3.
Adobe issues emergency update to Flash after ransomware attacks – Jim Finkle
Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) issued an emergency update on Thursday to its widely used Flash software for Internet browsers after researchers discovered a security flaw that was being exploited to deliver ransomware to Windows PCs.
The software maker urged the more than 1 billion users of Flash on Windows, Mac, Chrome and Linux computers to update the product as quickly as possible after security researchers said the bug was being exploited in "drive-by" attacks that infect computers with ransomware when tainted websites are visited.
How about the auction, What’s spectrum?
The way it is being used here, by the FCC - Spectrum is really just a fancy term for radio waves, a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
What’s going on with T-Mobile?
T-Mobile wants to stop that from happening, saying AT&T and Verizon already control three-fourths of low-band frequencies.
Who else is interested in spectrum?
Comcast, Charter, and Dish Network, Google (?)
How is this auction being setup?
TV broadcasters by Tuesday April 5 must have made official their intentions to accept the FCC's opening price for the rights to the spectrum they currently use for digital TV broadcasts.
Who is bidding and how much money are we talking about?
AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast, Dish Network, etc
Can you describe the spectrum being auctioned and what will be done with it?
The FCC expects that bidders will provide new wireless services using that spectrum, which is in the 600 MHz band and currently used for UHF TV channels. The characteristics of UHF that make it good for TV also work well for wireless communications and data delivery -- the waves can travel great distances and pass through buildings.
So what happens if a TV station sells its spectrum?
TV broadcasters have the choice of moving to a lower-frequency spot on the spectrum, sharing signals with a neighboring station or giving up broadcasting altogether.
Does the FCC know which stations are going to sell?
While some stations have made their intentions to participate in the reverse auction public, the FCC is not able to announce what percent of the 1,800 eligible TV stations are involved, because of confidentiality protections within the 2012 Congressional action that led to the auction.
What if a station sells? Are they out of business?
As the FCC reorganizes spectrum allocations after the auction, some TV channels may need to be reassigned during the 39-month transition period. Any reassignment requires that the FCC preserve stations' current audience and geographical reach. For more information about the incentive auction, visit the FCC web site http://www.fcc.gov/
You mentioned some big provider names – can you give more details?
Currently, the top four nationwide providers - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile - combined hold more than 80% of available wireless spectrum. AT&T is expected to spend at least $10 billion on the auction, with Verizon to spend from $8 billion to $10 billion, and T-Mobile between $6 billion and $10 billion. Zino did not estimate Comcast or Dish's spending.
Why do we need more spectrum?
Video takes up 50 percent of all US mobile data and will likely grow to 70 percent in 2021, which is when this rearranged spectrum will go into use. Because video requires more over-the-air bandwidth than other types of data, these bigger lanes will open up the possibility for applications we haven’t even thought of yet. These lower-frequency bands will play a role in 5G. In much the same way that 700 MHz paved the way for America’s world-leading deployment of 4G, so could 600 MHz accelerate U.S. deployment of 5G.”
How fast will 5G go?
5G standards have yet to be defined. In October 2014, Samsung Electronics set the first record by achieving a wireless speed of 7.5Gbps in tests at its DMC R&D Centre at Samsung Electronics in Suwon, South Korea. But in November 2014, the record was beaten by the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which was founded by a host of telecoms industry partners, including Fujitsu, Aircom, BT, Samsung, Telefonica, Vodafone, Aeroflex and Rohde & Schwarz, as well as the BBC.
5GIC achieved a speed of 0.8 terabits (800Gbps) in its tests. Then on 25 February 2015, it beat its own record by hitting 1Tbps, which is currently the world record.
How about 5G distance?
So far, the most impressive test has been that of Huawei and NTT DoComo, who achieved mobile internet speeds of 3.6Gbps outdoors across the city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China in October 2015.
Will there be enough participation?
Good question, there's some concern that not enough stations planned to participate in this latest auction. Only one in ten broadcasters expressed an interest in selling its spectrum in discussions in advance of the auction, according to tech consulting firm the Envisioneering Group. Time will tell.
Bits and Bytes
Why The FBI Director Puts Tape Over His Webcam – Andy Greenberg
FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement. But it was an offhand remark during the Q&A session at Kenyon College that caught the attention of privacy activists:
"I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera."
The Senate’s Draft Encryption Bill Is ‘Ludicrous, Dangerous, Technically Illiterate’ – Martin Kaste
On Thursday evening, the draft text of a bill called the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016,” authored by offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr, was published online by the Hill.1 It’s a nine-page piece of legislation that would require people to comply with any authorized court order for data—and if that data is “unintelligible,” the legislation would demand that it be rendered “intelligible.” In other words, the bill would make illegal the sort of user-controlled encryption that’s in every modern iPhone, in all billion devices that run Whatsapp’s messaging service, and in dozens of other tech products. http://www.wired.com/2016/04/senates-draft-encryption-bill-privacy-nightmare/