New GST software launched

Image result for New GST software launchedGeneral ST Suvidha Provider and publisher of tax and corporate law books Taxmann has developed a software to help enterprises comply with the requirements under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

Announcing the launch of the product in Hyderabad on Wednesday, Taxmann Technologies CEO Piyush Kumar said the One Solution software has been created keeping in mind the increased compliance and monthly returns a company need to file under the new GST regime.

Taxmann is one of the 34 GST Suvidha Providers (GSP) authorised to interact with Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), which will handle all return filings and compliance related work. GSPs have been allowed to provide essential solutions like registration, return filing, payment of taxes, ledger maintenance through their secured network, a release from Taxmann said.

Solution available

One Solution is available for purchase both as a software to help with GST compliance as well as a integrated solution for Goods and Services Tax, Income Tax and TDS compliance, he said.

The software, Head-Growth and Alliances of Taxmann Ansh Bhargava said, has a robust reconciliation facility so as to ensure that only reconciled details are reported to GSTN.”


iPhone 8 Dummy Unit Hands-On Video Tips It’s Thicker Than the iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 8 Dummy Unit Hands-On Video Tips It's Thicker Than the iPhone 7 Plus


  • The iPhone 8 vertical dual camera setup is seen at the back
  • The front sports an almost bezel-less display
  • The dual speaker grille setup is seen on the bottom edge

iPhone 8 leaks continue to pour in, and renders of the smartphone have been leaked in abundance so far. However, a fresh leak brings the best ever view of iPhone 8 yet. A high-res video of a purported iPhone 8 dummy unit shows it from all angles, and even measures it for a more detailed analysis.

The video has been published by Tiger Mobiles and OnLeaks together, and it shows a particular Black dummy unit from all angles. The tipster claims that the dummy unit is based on 3D CAD schematics, and is sourced directly from the factory in charge of building the new iPhone. The smartphone corroborates past leaks and the vertical dual camera setup sits at the back, with the flash sitting in between the two lenses. There’s a grey Apple logo sitting in the back centre, and the entire back is made up of glass, seemingly confirming wireless charging rumours.

Coming to the bottom edge of the iPhone 7, the dual speaker grille setup is seen on both sides of the Lightning port. The front is all occupied by the display, as has been reported earlier as well. The top lip houses the earpiece and front camera sensor, but all else is just display. There’s no Home Button seen anywhere, and the fingerprint sensor is expected to be embedded underneath the display.

Talking about measurements, the video claims that the iPhone 8 has dimensions of 143.5×71.03×7.46mm, which is a bit wider, taller, and thicker than the iPhone 7, which measures at 138.3×67.1×7.1mm. In comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus comes in at 158.2×77.9×7.3 mm, which makes the iPhone 8 thicker than both the current generation iPhones.

The iPhone 8 has been tipped to sport wireless charging as well as an OLED display, apart from being more waterproof than current iPhone models as well. It is expected to come with AirPods bundled, and be unveiled in September.


Nokia Appoints Samsung Executive Gregory Lee as Head of Its Technologies Unit

Nokia Appoints Samsung Executive Gregory Lee as Head of Its Technologies Unit


  • Nokia has appointed Gregory Lee as President of Nokia Technologies
  • Lee will be based in California, reporting to Rajeev Suri, Nokia CEO
  • Lee previously served as Samsung’s Global Chief Marketing Officer

Nokia has appointed senior Samsung executive Gregory Lee as President of Nokia Technologies and member of the group leadership team, the telecoms network equipment maker said on Friday.

“Gregory’s passion for innovation and operational excellence, along with his proven ability to build and lead global consumer technology businesses, make him well suited to advance Nokia’s efforts in virtual reality, digital health and beyond,” the Finnish company added. Lee most recently served as President and CEO, Samsung Electronics, North America.

Lee will be based in California, reporting to Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia. Suri in a statement said, “We have chosen the right leader to take Nokia Technologies forward at a time of renewed excitement about the Nokia brand around the world. Gregory’s passion for innovation and operational excellence, along with his proven ability to build and lead global consumer technology businesses, make him well suited to advance Nokia’s efforts in virtual reality, digital health and beyond.”

Nokia notes that Lee previously served as Samsung’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, as well as President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Southeast Asia and President and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America. Prior to his time at Samsung, Lee led product development, sales and strategic initiatives for global consumer brands including Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble, Nokia said.

I am excited by the opportunity to lead Nokia Technologies,” said Lee. “The Nokia Technologies team has produced innovative products and solutions in dynamic, high growth segments of the consumer technology market, and I am honored to be in a position to help build on this success in the future.”


The sought after Linux professional

There’s no such thing as “just a Linux sysadmin,” which is what makes Linux professionals so incredibly valuable. We’ve all been hearing that the demand for Linux professionals is “at its highest ever!!!” for years. In recent years, though, it hasn’t just been Linux nuts like me saying it. You may reference the 2014 Linux Jobs Report by The Linux Foundation and assume they’re biased, but a quick search over at shows that the demand for Linux professionals is a real thing.

Linux has been around for decades, so why the sudden interest?


Sure, I mean Linux is flexible, but more than that, Linux System Administrators are flexible. It’s not news to anyone that Linux is gaining popularity in part due to its dominance in the cloud and the datacenter. And certainly that large install base needs sysadmins who understand Linux and how it works. More importantly, however, companies need sysadmins who can make those cloud based services work with their particular internal needs.

If you need someone to integrate your homegrown database system with a cloud based Linux infrastructure, you need a Linux professional. Take my personal experience when transitioning from a Linux-centric server room to a Microsoft dominated company. My certifications are strictly network and Linux-based (specifically CCNA & LPIC/Linux+). Still, I was confident applying for a management position in a database department that used 100% Microsoft SQL, even though I’d never touched MSQL in my life. And I never claimed to do so in my interviews, because I understand conceptually what needs to be done. I have first-hand experience with integrating various operating systems, so learning the nuances of Microsoft-specific procedures didn’t worry me at all.

I got the job, and after a year I can assure you my lack of first-hand experience didn’t affect my ability to lead a team or make technical decisions. My point? Linux users tend to be a cut above the rest, not because they’re inherently smarter or better, but because Linux requires you to understand what you’re doing on a level that’s not required with Windows. That conceptual understanding is invaluable, and interviewers know it. As Linux users and pros, we’ve been learning to integrate into heterogenous environments our entire careers. It’s easy to find a strictly Microsoft shop, but 100% Linux? That’s almost unheard of. That means as Linux administrators, we have been forced to understand multiple systems in order to do the simplest of tasks. Think about it, every Linux user in the world would be able to configure a network connection in Windows 7. If they didn’t know how, it would be really easy to figure out. Then, take a Windows administrator and ask them to set up a static IP on a Debian server? That’s far less common.

What makes Linux professionals valuable

In order to fill those desperately needed Senior Administrator positions, Linux folks need to have a firm grasp of what Linux can and can’t do. Is scaling to the cloud a wise move? Will database latency cause transaction errors if queries take place over the Internet? Can we use a cloud service like Amazon, or do we have to use Azure due to Microsoft specific code?

In order to answer those tough questions, not only must a sysadmin be comfortable in their area of expertise, but they must have understanding and experience in cross-platform solutions. Like I pointed out earlier, this pretty much describes what it means to be a Linux professional! Nobody likes hiring or even working with an arrogant Linux zealot. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get an air of superiority. The key to being hirable (and not being a jerk) is to turn that arrogance into fearlessness. Don’t call your potential employer stupid for implementing a Microsoft virtualization platform, tell them how excited you are to get your hands on it so you can learn what advantages and disadvantages it offers.

Who knows, maybe you’ll eventually replace their entire system with open source—but you won’t even have the chance if you start off by insulting them.

What if you have not been using Linux your entire career? What if you haven’t had a career yet at all? That’s the beauty of open source. Nothing, I repeat, nothing about working with Linux is a secret. By design, every bit of information is available freely on the Internet. You can download multiple distributions, countless open source applications, and enough documentation to make your eyes cross. All for free. Certainly there are advantages to professional training when it comes to learning Linux, but not because trainers have access to anything not already available to anyone.

Linux and open source software, coupled with the Internet, have leveled the playing field when it comes to learning and growing as a professional. I’m a Linux professional today because in my early 20s I couldn’t afford to study anything else. Today, I couldn’t be happier with those humble beginnings. Linux has changed my life, and if the studies and job searches are any indication, it can change yours too.


PHP at 20: From pet project to powerhouse

PHP at 20: From pet project to powerhouse

When Rasmus Lerdorf released “a set of small tight CGI binaries written in C,” he had no idea how much his creation would impact Web development. Delivering the opening keynote at this year’s SunshinePHP conference in Miami, Lerdorf quipped, “In 1995, I thought I had unleashed a C API upon the Web. Obviously, that’s not what happened, or we’d all be C programmers.”

In fact, when Lerdorf released version 1.0 of Personal Home Page Tools — as PHP was then known — the Web was very young. HTML 2.0 would not be published until November of that year, and HTTP/1.0 not until May the following year. NCSA HTTPd was the most widely deployed Web server, and Netscape Navigator was the most popular Web browser, with Internet Explorer 1.0 to arrive in August. In other words, PHP’s beginnings coincided with the eve of the browser wars.

Those early days speak volumes about PHP’s impact on Web development. Back then, our options were limited when it came to server-side processing for Web apps. PHP stepped in to fill our need for a tool that would enable us to do dynamic things on the Web. That practical flexibility captured our imaginations, and PHP has since grown up with the Web. Now powering more than 80 percent of the Web, PHP has matured into a scripting language that is especially suited to solve the Web problem. Its unique pedigree tells a story of pragmatism over theory and problem solving over purity.

The Web glue we got hooked on

PHP didn’t start out as a language, and this is clear from its design — or lack thereof, as detractors point out. It began as an API to help Web developers access lower-level C libraries. The first version was a small CGI binary that provided form-processing functionality with access to request parameters and the mSQL database. And its facility with a Web app’s database would prove key in sparking our interest in PHP and PHP’s subsequent ascendancy.

By version 2 — aka PHP/FI — database support had expanded to include PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, and more. It supported these databases by wrapping their C libraries, making them a part of the PHP binary. PHP/FI could also wrap the GD library to create and manipulate GIF images. It could be run as an Apache module or compiled with FastCGI support, and it introduced the PHP script language with support for variables, arrays, language constructs, and functions. For many of us working on the Web at that time, PHP was the kind of glue we’d been looking for.

As PHP folded in more and more programming language features, morphing into version 3 and onward, it never lost this gluelike aspect. Through repositories like PECL (PHP Extension Community Library), PHP could tie together libraries and expose their functionality to the PHP layer. This capacity to bring together components became a significant facet of the beauty of PHP, though it was not limited to its source code.

The Web as a community of coders

PHP’s lasting impact on Web development isn’t limited to what can be done with the language itself. How PHP work is done and who participates — these too are important parts of PHP’s legacy.

As early as 1997, PHP user groups began forming. One of the earliest was the Midwest PHP User’s Group (later known as Chicago PHP), which held its first meeting in February 1997. This was the beginning of what would become a vibrant, energetic community of developers assembled over an affinity for a little tool that helped them solve problems on the Web. The ubiquity of PHP made it a natural choice for Web development. It became especially popular in the shared hosting world, and its low barrier to entry was attractive to many early Web developers.

With a growing community came an assortment of tools and resources for PHP developers. The year 2000 — a watershed moment for PHP — witnessed the first PHP Developers’ Meeting, a gathering of the core developers of the programming language, who met in Tel Aviv to discuss the forthcoming 4.0 release. PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR) also launched in 2000 to provide high-quality userland code packages following standards and best practices. The first PHP conference, PHP Kongress, was held in Germany soon after. came online, and to this day, it is the most authoritative news source in the PHP community.

This communal momentum proved vital to PHP’s growth in subsequent years, and as the Web development industry erupted, so did PHP. PHP began powering more and larger websites. More user groups formed around the world. Mailing lists; online forums; IRC; conferences; trade journals such as php[architect], the German PHP Magazin, and International PHP Magazine — the vibrancy of the PHP community had a significant impact on the way Web work would be done: collectively and openly, with an emphasis on code sharing.

Then, 10 years ago, shortly after the release of PHP 5, an interesting thing happened in Web development that created a general shift in how the PHP community built libraries and applications: Ruby on Rails was released.

The rise of frameworks

The Ruby on Rails framework for the Ruby programming language created an increased focus and attention on the MVC (model-view-controller) architectural pattern. The Mojavi PHP framework a few years prior had used this pattern, but the hype around Ruby on Rails is what firmly cemented MVC in the PHP frameworks that followed. Frameworks exploded in the PHP community, and frameworks have changed the way developers build PHP applications.

Many important projects and developments have arisen, thanks to the proliferation of frameworks in the PHP community. The PHP Framework Interoperability Group formed in 2009 to aid in establishing coding standards, naming conventions, and best practices among frameworks. Codifying these standards and practices helped provide more interoperable software for developers using member projects’ code. This interoperability meant that each framework could be split into components and stand-alone libraries could be used together with monolithic frameworks. With interoperability came another important milestone: The Composer project was born in 2011.

Inspired by Node.js’s NPM and Ruby’s Bundler, Composer has ushered in a new era of PHP application development, creating a PHP renaissance of sorts. It has encouraged interoperability between packages, standard naming conventions, adoption of coding standards, and increased test coverage. It is an essential tool in any modern PHP application.

The need for speed and innovation

Today, the PHP community has a thriving ecosystem of applications and libraries. Some of the most widely installed PHP applications include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and MediaWiki. These applications power the Web presence of businesses of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to sites like and Wikipedia. Six of the Alexa top 10 sites use PHP to serve billions of pages a day. As a result, PHP applications have been optimized for speed — and much innovation has gone into PHP core to improve performance.

In 2010, Facebook unveiled its HipHop for PHP source-to-source compiler, which translates PHP code into C++ code and compiles it into a single executable binary application. Facebook’s size and growth necessitated the move away from standard interpreted PHP code to a faster, optimized executable. However, Facebook wanted to continue using PHP for its ease of use and rapid development cycles. HipHop for PHP evolved into HHVM, a JIT (just-in-time) compilation-based execution engine for PHP, which included a new language based on PHP: Hack.

Facebook’s innovations, as well as other VM projects, created competition at the engine level, leading to discussions about the future of the Zend Engine that still powers PHP’s core, as well as the question of a language specification. In 2014, a language specification project was created “to provide a complete and concise definition of the syntax and semantics of the PHP language,” making it possible for compiler projects to create interoperable PHP implementations.

The next major version of PHP became a topic of intense debate, and a project known as phpng (next generation) was offered as an option to clean up, refactor, optimize, and improve the PHP code base, which also showed substantial improvements to the performance of real-world applications. After deciding to name the next major version “PHP 7,” due to a previous, unreleased PHP 6.0 version, the phpng branch was merged in, and plans were made to proceed with PHP 7, working in many of the language features offered by Hack, such as scalar and return type hinting.

With the first PHP 7 alpha release due out today and benchmarks showing performance as good as or better than that of HHVM in many cases, PHP is keeping up with the pace of modern Web development needs. Likewise, the PHP-FIG continues to innovate and push frameworks and libraries to collaborate and cooperate — most recently with the adoption of PSR-7, which will change the way PHP projects handle HTTP. User groups, conferences, publications, and initiatives like continue to advocate best practices, coding standards, and testing to the PHP developer community.

PHP has seen the Web mature through various stages, and PHP has matured. Once a simple API wrapper around lower-level C libraries, PHP has become a full-fledged programming language in its own right. Its developer community is vibrant and helpful, priding themselves in pragmatism and welcoming newcomers. PHP has stood the test of time for 20 years, and current activity in the language and community is ensuring it will be a relevant and useful language for years to come.

During his SunshinePHP keynote, Rasmus Lerdorf reflected, “Did I think I’d be here 20 years later talking about this silly little project I did? No, I didn’t.”

Here’s to Lerdorf and the rest of the PHP community for transforming this “silly little project” into a lasting, powerful component of the Web today.


Grids battle against lost hypergrid content

Most people who’ve traveled the hypergrid have had the experience of not being able to bring stuff back home, or of mysteriously not being able to take content to other grids.

Recently, a number of different OpenSim developers have taken on the fight, and have been reporting progress.

Crista Lopes steps in

Crista Lopes, the woman who invented the hypergrid, stepped in to fix one bug, first reported on the OpenSim “Mantis” bug-tracking page in March.

Dreamscape grid resident “Xantis” reported not being able to bring items home from OSgrid.

Outworldz grid founder Fred Beckhusen, also known as “Ferd Frederix” in-world, confirmed the problem — and the workaround.

“If I wear the item at the foreign grid, and return home, I can detach it and rez it,” he reported. “Otherwise, no rez allowed.”

This was the same work-around recommended by Mal Burns of the Inworld Review.

But it’s too early for the fix to go into mainstream OpenSim, so it’s up to individual grids to install it.

The new DigiWorldz Hyper Mall.

The new DigiWorldz Hyper Mall features a mix of both free and commercial content.

“If grid owners have in-house people to modify their code for them, they could simply grab the code from that submitted revision and merge it into their existing code,” said DigiWorldz grid founder Terry Ford, also known as “Butch Arnold” in-world. In addition to managing the technology for DigiWorldz, Ford also takes care of 3rd Rock Grid and the Great Canadian Grid.

“If they don’t have in house people, they’ll either have to hire someone to do it… or wait until a new release which includes this code becomes available,” he told Hypergrid Business. He did not recommend running the experimental code released after the fix was made.

According to Ford, for a user to bring content from one grid to another without wearing it on the first grid, both grids have to be running the fixed code.

The bug only applies to grids that use the “suitcase” functionality, said Tim Rogers, CEO of the Zetamex OpenSim hosting company, which recently began taking new orders again for grid hosting and region hosting.

The suitcase — a folder inside the avatar inventory that can be accessed while on other grids — was originally designed to help protect hypergrid travelers. Only content inside the folder could be accessed on foreign grids, preventing rogue grid owners from stealing visitors’ inventories. Some users, however, find that the suitcase just gets in their way, and they only spend time on reputable grids, or, if they do visit a grid on the wrong side of the tracks, and that grid wants to steal some stranger’s inventory filled with thousands of items all labeled “primitive,” more power to them.

The Lani Mall on OSgrid's Lani region is home to more than 50 shops offering over 2,000 different products, many freebies with a science fiction-theme.

The Lani Mall on OSgrid’s Lani region is home to more than 50 shops offering over 2,000 different products, many freebies with a science fiction-theme.

“Every grid owner that signs up with us, always asks us to disable the suitcase because it complicates things for their customers,” Rogers told Hypergrid Business.

However, Rogers said, Zetamex will be rolling out the patch to its customers.

Dreamland Metaverse, another OpenSim hosting provider, has been testing the new code over the past few days, and is planning to roll it out soon.

“We have finished testing the latest version and already rolled out that version for our regions on OSgrid,” CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business.

Another content-related issue, first reported yesterday, is a problem that occurs when content moves between grids that run on Windows and those that don’t. Some grids have figured out how to clean up corrupted content in their databases while they wait for a more permanent fix.

Kitely fixes content export problems

The Kitely Market delivers to about 100 different grids.

The Kitely Market delivers to about 100 different grids.

Earlier this week, Kitely fixed its own content problem, where users would home content from other grids — but then would not be able to take that content back out with them while traveling.

The problem would crop up when one user would upload content to the grid, such as a Linda Kellie freebie, without copy and transfer permissions, and another user would bring that same content in from a foreign grid, then it would never be allowed to leave.

“But if the same item first came into Kitely from another grid, then it would be allowed to leave,” said Oren Hurvitz, Kitely‘s co-founder and VP of R&D, in an announcement. “This made no sense. It also didn’t add much to security, since we still couldn’t prevent items from being taken out using Copybots.”

The fix only applies to new items, not to items already in a user’s inventory, he said. And it doesn’t affect the “export” permission set by merchants who sell content in the Kitely Market.

The Kitely Market currently carries about 10,000 different items, 60 percent of which can be delivered from the website directly to avatars on foreign grids.


Uptime, the Social YouTube App for Friends, Becomes Available to All

Uptime, the Social YouTube App for Friends, Becomes Available to All

Google-backed team Area 120 launched the Uptime app in March this year, and made it available via invite only to iOS users. Now, the company has removed the invite system and has made the app available to all iOS users on the App Store in the US. There’s still no Android version in sight yet.

For those unaware, the newly launched Uptime is a video sharing app made by Area 120 that lets you share YouTube videos with your friends and comment and chat on them as well. It lets you see all the videos your friends are watching on YouTube and vice versa. Uptime version 18.1 runs on iOS 10 and above devices only. This update, along with killing the invite system, introduces a new home screen for better discovery and navigation. It also brings support for music videos and allows for finding friends through Facebook.
The Uptime app is now available to all users in the US only, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. Unfortunately, Indian users still can’t experience this app, as it still not available in the region. With the Uptime app, Area 120 looks to offer a YouTube centric platform for social sharing with a close group of friends.

You can share a YouTube video on Uptime for your friends to see, react, and have a conversation with. Google’s incubator, dubbed ‘Area 120’, is a new approach – part incubator and part new take on the spirit of the 20 percent time programme. It essentially allows employees to work on experimental projects in their free time, and is reportedly supervised by Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz.



Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete

Google Talk Is Officially Dead, Switch to Hangouts Complete

It was inevitable that Google would one day start cutting down its confusing array of chat-based applications, and the Internet search giant has done just that. The company has finally killed off its Google Talk service and has replaced it with Hangouts, keeping true to the promise made back in March.

Google Talk, aka Gchat or GTalk, which came into existence back in 2005, is among the company’s oldest messaging applications that has been in a state of limbo given the various new messaging apps that the company has introduced including the more recent Google Allo. Killing off GTalk essentially means that anyone who was still using Google Talk rather than Hangouts will now be forced to shift to the latter to continue messaging on Gmail. The transition will go through smoothly and you’ll find all your chat contacts now in Hangouts.
Even though Gchat may be gone now, you’re still left with a number of chat-based services from Google to suit your needs. It’s also perhaps not a bad thing as not only does Hangouts cater to modern sensibilities with chat bubbles and GIF support, but also allows Google to focus more of its resources on its remaining apps. It’s a major step in the company’s effort too streamline its services.

Google in March also announced that it would drop support for carrier SMS on Hangouts and would instead be shifting it to Android Messages. The company in recent months has been trying to rewire Hangouts to serve G Suite and enterprise users, much like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and making it the default chat for Gmail is an effort towards the same. The same month, the company also rolled out Hangouts Meet video conferencing service along with text-based messaging service Hangout Chat for enterprise users.




Silicon Valley’s Not Hotdog App Comes to Android

Silicon Valley's Not Hotdog App Comes to Android

The Not Hotdog app, which started as a bit on HBO’s Silicon Valley before releasing as an actual app on the App Store, is now available on Android too. The app’s purpose is simple: it helps you identify whether the food in front of you is a hotdog or not. And that’s all there is to it.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the show, here’s how this happened. Midway through the fourth season – which finished airing this week – pompous Erlich (T.J. Miller) and oblivious Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) secured $200,000 in funding from a venture capital firm for SeeFood, an app that the former pitched as a “Shazam for food”.

After cooking up a working demo over a few days, with the help of Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), they realised that their app was in fact capable of only identifying a hotdog and nothing else. So in a smart pivot, the app came to be a known as ‘Not Hotdog’.

Normally, the joke would’ve stopped there. But HBO went ahead and hired a developer to turn the ridiculous idea into an actual, functioning app, which would be the first for Silicon Valley since its beginning four years ago.

The developer in question is Tim Anglade, who published a lengthy post on Monday regarding the app’s development process on his Medium blog. In it, Anglade mentioned that they used Tensorflow, and a Nvidia GPU to train the algorithm, which took about 80 hours.

Of course, the app is far from perfect. Anglade himself attached a tweet that shows the Not Hotdog app failing if you just put some ketchup on an arm, a banana, or an apple. But that’s missing the point, which is that… okay maybe there’s no point to it. Now go identify some hotdogs, or not.




Report: 2.5 million people fell victim to ransomware last year, up 11% from 2016

istock-645374756.jpgThe number of people who reported encounters with ransomware worldwide in the past year rose from 2.3 million to nearly 2.6 million—an 11.4% increase, according to a report released Monday from Kaspersky Lab.

Mobile ransomware, in particular, continues to be a concern, with 218,625 mobile Trojan-Ransomware installation packages detected in the first quarter of 2017 alone—3.5 times more than the previous quarter, the report found. However, the total number of users targeted by mobile ransomware fell by 4.6% between this year and last year, the report noted.

Kaspersky Lab examined security data from April 2016 to March 2017 and compared it with data gathered the previous year. And these attacks are most common in wealthy countries, with the US experiencing the highest percentage of mobile users attacked with mobile ransomware, followed by Canada, Germany, and the UK.

“Despite a small reprieve, the mobile threat landscape is still arousing anxiety, as criminals target nations with developed financial and payment infrastructures,” according to a press release announcing the report. “Developed markets not only have a higher level of income, but also more advanced and widely used mobile and e-payment systems that can be easily compromised.”

SEE: Cyber Security Volume I: Hackers Exposed (TechRepublic Academy)

In the US, the rise of mobile attacks came primarily from the Svpeng and Fusob malware families, the report noted. Germany was the country with the highest percentage of mobile users attacked the year before, but the US shifted from fourth to first position this year, with almost 19% of users attacked.

“These geographical changes in the mobile ransomware landscape could be a sign of the trend to spread attacks to rich, unprepared, vulnerable or yet unreached regions,” said Roman Unuchek, security expert at Kaspersky Lab, in a press release. “This obviously means that users, especially in these countries, should be extremely cautious when surfing the web.”

Kaspersky Lab offered the following seven tips to combat ransomware:

It’s clear that prevention is the superpower that defeats cryptomalware. Learn more about the timeline of a cryptor attack and follow the 10 steps we recommend to ensure that you can prevent an attack from sidelining your company.

eBooks provided by Kaspersky Lab

1. Back up data regularly, and always keep software updated on all devices.

2. Use a reliable security solution that protects against ransomware.

3. Treat email attachments, or messages from people you don’t know, with caution. If in doubt, don’t open it.

4. If you fall victim to an encryptor, use a clean system to check the No More Ransom site for a decryption tool that could help get your files back.

5. Educate employees and IT teams; keep sensitive data separate; restrict access; and backup everything, always.

6. Download Kaspersky Lab’s free anti-ransomware tool for your business, regardless of the security solution installed.

7. Report any ransomware attack to your local law enforcement agency, as these attacks are criminal offenses.