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Washington AG Slams T-Mobile Over Deceptive 'No-Contract' Ads

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the what-we-meant-was dept.

Cellphones 371

zacharye writes "Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday ordered UNcarrier T-Mobile to correct 'deceptive advertising that promised consumers no annual contracts while carrying hidden charges for early termination of phone plans.' T-Mobile, which recently did away with standard cell phone service contracts and typical smartphone subsidies, is accused of misleading consumers by advertising no-contract wireless plans despite requiring that customers sign an agreement that makes them responsible for the full cost of their handsets should they cancel service prematurely ..."

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exactly the same as Blockbuster (1, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549427)

This is absolutely identical to Blockbuster's "no late fees...well unless you don't bring it back for over a week, then one giant one" problem. In that case though, I think 47 or so states sued them.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549473)

No, it's not. The advertise no contract; which the provide. If you don't want to pay for the phone up front, you can pay for it over time. Obviously if you leave before you are done paying for it, they want the rest of the money you own them for the phone.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549507)

And how, exactly, is that not a standard cell service contract?

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (5, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549543)

And how, exactly, is that not a standard cell service contract?

With a standard cell contract, your recurring charges stay the same indefinitely. You are billed as if your phone is subsidized even if it is not.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549705)

Maybe you're on your first phone contract or have simply never owned a phone out of contract, but I can say for absolute fact that you do not get any special treatment for owning your phone outright. The cost of the plan is a fixed amount, subsidized or not. If you bring your own phone you are only aiding the carrier hedge their bets by paying the same monthly rate as a contracted user but posing zero repayment risk.

If you call and ask nice you can probably get in on an employee pricing plan for your company. Discounts of 20% or more are not uncommon and if you don't have one you're just subsidizing those that do, often times the very same people you're already subsidizing, the contract renewers.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (5, Informative)

todrules (882424) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549795)

Maybe you're on your first phone contract or have simply never owned a phone out of contract, but I can say for absolute fact that you do not get any special treatment for owning your phone outright. The cost of the plan is a fixed amount, subsidized or not. If you bring your own phone you are only aiding the carrier hedge their bets by paying the same monthly rate as a contracted user but posing zero repayment risk.

That's true with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. But not T-Mobile. As soon as you pay for the phone, you're monthly bill goes down. Also, if you bring your own device, you get that dropped rate immediately.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549929)

I'm not sure why you think you're correcting me - you said the same thing I did.

Me: "You are billed as if your phone is subsidized even if it is not."
You: "The cost of the plan is a fixed amount, subsidized or not."

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549829)

I did a comparison, and I think they're fleecing everyone...(who buys in)

While there is a diffference between them / Verizon for "unllimiited' accounts. (comparing to sharing 8-10GB, or my grandfathered unlimited plan.) and it's about $20 or so,

They're not really 20$ cheaper w/o the phones, as their model prior model was. if they were, that would rock I'd buy in right now.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549845)

(as with their prior pricing model. sorry)

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549549)

It's a loan, not a cell service contract.

You can cancel your service anytime, just pay up the rest of the principal on the 0% interest loan they're giving you.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549647)

Isn't a loan with agreed upon conditions a type of contract?

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549745)

yes, but not a plan contract....

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (5, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549865)

More importantly: If you bring your own phone, or pay for your device outright, you have no contract.

Prior to T-Mobile's offering of no-contract plans - if you paid for your phone outright, or brought your own phone - you STILL had to sign up for a contract.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549575)

As much as I hate to say it, geekoid is right. It's more like a loan. You're responsible for the total cost of the phone, which they let you pay over time, but that's not tied to a service agreement the same way a normal contract plan is. You pay a bit extra every month until the phone is paid-off -- if you terminate service, then the full amount remaining come due.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549615)

Because you can terminate your cell phone service at anytime, with no penalty. Also, once you finish paying for the phone, your bill is reduced.

Example, I have a $65/month plan, and I have a S3 that I'm paying off at @20/mo.

Right now I pay $65+$20/mo. Once the phone is fully paid for, I'll only pay $65/mo (+ all tax/etc. of course). If I cancel my service before I finish paying off the phone, I still have to pay off the phone.

No even remotely the same as a standard cell service contract.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549643)

1) your monthly payment varies based on the cost of your phone
2) it drops after 20 months (the time they let you spread the payments over, appears to be 24 months now)
3) your "penalty" is based on the price left on your phone, not arbitrary

I think if they are not advertising phones at discounted rates it's all clean, you can, and they will even encourage you to if you want low rates, buy a phone outright and not have any penalty. A galaxy S refurb is under $200, they had some even cheaper phones (some little, but usable huawei phone) at the store last I was there, this was a while ago, but $99 outright.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (3, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549715)

It is a contract. It is a contract to pay for the phone over the course of 2 years. The thing that T-Mobile has done is separated the service contract from the phone. You can have a monthly service plan (contract free). You can buy a phone from them, or bring your own phone that you purchased elsewhere. You also have the option of receiving a phone and a loan from them if you sign a contract to pay it back over 2 years.

You can cancel your service any time without a termination fee. You are not able to get out of your agreement to pay for the phone they gave you.

This is orders of magnitude better than what other carriers do. They force you to pay for a new phone with a 2 year service plan whether you get one or not. So everyone gets their "free phone" (that they are already obligated to pay for), and they are also stuck with the same service provider for the next 2 years.

At least with T-mobile you can switch to another carrier. You can even sell your phone on ebay to try to recoup some of the costs if you don't want it anymore.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0, Troll)

phobos512 (766371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549863)

They force you to pay for a new phone with a 2 year service plan whether you get one or not. So everyone gets their "free phone" (that they are already obligated to pay for), and they are also stuck with the same service provider for the next 2 years.

At least with T-mobile you can switch to another carrier. You can even sell your phone on ebay to try to recoup some of the costs if you don't want it anymore.

You do realize that you can buy unlocked GSM phones, purchase a SIM card from AT&T (and formerly T-Mobile) and use it without having to pay several hundred dollars up-front right? I've done that many times over the years. Ditto for purchasing a used or new CDMA device. You just call up the carrier and say you want to activate a device. You don't have to "pay for a new phone with a 2 year service plan whether you get one or not" as you say...

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549767)

Under the standard cell service contract, they continue charging the higher monthly rate even after the contract expires.

On TMobile, once your device is paid off, the monthly fee is reduced by the amount you were paying for the phone.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549793)

Your cost per month goes down once the phone is paid off. Alternately, you can buy (or bring) your phone and pay less each month. No other US carrier offers this unless you go prepay.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549681)

you can't enforce a termination fee without a contract enforcing it.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549827)

you can't enforce a termination fee without a contract enforcing it.

There is no contract for the phone service.

There is still contract if you take out a loan on a new phone that just covers that loan. If you want to exit the service early, you have to pay off the principle.

Is it 'misleading'? A little bit, yes, because they say its no contract, but if you want to pay for your phone over a 2 year period well then you still need a contract for THAT.

I think this is definitely a good direction for the industry to go, and its unfortunate that they are getting slapped a bit for it, but they do need to be clear that the service has no contract, but the purchase of a subsidized phone is essentially a separate loan agreement for that phone, and that you do have to sign a contract to take out that loan.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549479)

Actually, this is no contract service. The contract is for a subsidized phone. Unlike, say, Verizon, where you might pay $128 for breaking your contract--ever. Didn't get a subsidized phone? LOL cancellation fee.

I suspect T-Mobile is financing your phone, and rolling it into the bill. Haven't looked, as I don't have a contract.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549557)

After reading the article, I see nothing deceptive. They sell you a phone on a monthly payment plan. You can cancel your service with them at any time but you still owe them for the phone that you bought. That's just basic common sense.

Once again a business is being hassled just because their customers are dishonest and/or stupid.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549719)

What I don't get is why T-Mobile doesn't let you continue paying off the phone on a month-by-month basis after you cancel service. That's the part that's potentially deceptive. One would naturally expect that "no contract service" means that your loan on the phone is not tied to that nonexistent contract. The fact that your phone loan is tied to service means that, in fact, it is a service contract, no matter how T-Mobile tries to spin it.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549861)

It's because they don't want to deal with stand-alone micro-loans. Anytime you take on a debt, you enter a contract. What t-mobile is advertising is no contract for service. agree with rudy_wayne.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549741)

It's deceptive because that was not mentioned in the ad. I mean they could advertize the no-contract service (without phone) and it would be true. They could advertize the payment plan for the phone and it would be true. But when you add no-contract service and payment plan for the phone and call the result "no-contract service" that's no longer true.

And this is a big business, not some small company that cannot hire ad designers (where you could say that this was an honest mistake) - a team of specialists in advertizing came up with this, so I'm sure that is was intended to mislead people into not understanding that the payment plan for the phone is not part of the "no-contract service" even if the phone is mentioned in the same as as the service.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549815)

The deceptive part is where the phone suddenly is due the moment you cancel your "non-contract" with them. It would be ok if they informed the customer explicitly that this is the case. It would be ok if they kept the monthly plan going until the phone is paid.

The deceptive part is where they can force people who cannot afford paying off their phone instantly into staying with them because they can't afford getting out.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (3, Informative)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549617)

I suspect T-Mobile is financing your phone, and rolling it into the bill.

I haven't done this yet, but I did get as far as "checking out" online to see what it was like, and they pretty clearly display the $20 per month phone charge, as well as the initially-owed amount (ie, $99 for an HTC One). Online purchasing also gives you the option of paying for it entirely up front.

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549713)

Credit card? You got it!

Re:exactly the same as Blockbuster (2)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549653)

Who modded this "Insightful?"

Slashdot staff -- stop the abuse or be sued... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549437)

A corrupt slashdot luser has pentrated the moderation system to downmod all my posts while impersonating me.

Nearly 230++ times that I know of @ this point for all of March/April 2013 so far, & others here have told you to stop - take the hint, lunatic (leave slashdot)...

Sorry folks - but whoever the nutjob is that's attempting to impersonate me, & upset the rest of you as well, has SERIOUS mental issues, no questions asked! I must've gotten the better of him + seriously "gotten his goat" in doing so in a technical debate & his "geek angst" @ losing to me has him doing the:

---

A.) $10,000 challenges, ala (where the imposter actually TRACKED + LISTED the # of times he's done this no less, & where I get the 230 or so times I noted above) -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585795&cid=43285307 [slashdot.org]

&/or

B.) Reposting OLD + possibly altered models - (this I haven't checked on as to altering the veracity of the info. being changed) of posts of mine from the past here

---

(Albeit massively repeatedly thru all threads on /. this March/April 2013 nearly in its entirety thusfar).

* Personally, I'm surprised the moderation staff here hasn't just "blocked out" his network range yet honestly!

(They know it's NOT the same as my own as well, especially after THIS post of mine, which they CAN see the IP range I am coming out of to compare with the ac spamming troll doing the above...).

APK

P.S.=> Again/Stressing it: NO guys - it is NOT me doing it, as I wouldn't waste that much time on such trivial b.s. like a kid might...

Plus, I only post where hosts file usage is on topic or appropriate for a solution & certainly NOT IN EVERY POST ON SLASHDOT (like the nutcase trying to "impersonate me" is doing for nearly all of March/April now, & 230++ times that I know of @ least)... apk

P.S.=> here is CORRECT host file information just to piss off the insane lunatic troll:

--

21++ ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOM HOSTS FILES (how/what/when/where/why):

Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below).

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
  http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
  http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
  http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
  http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
  https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
  https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
  http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
  http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
  http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

---

US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

---

Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

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And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

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As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

---

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

---

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

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DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

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Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

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Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

---

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

---

ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

---

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

---

Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

---

20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

---

DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

---

SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

---

DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

---

Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

---

DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]

---

DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]

---

Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]

---

Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]

---

DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

---

BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucketâ(TM)s DNS records hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]

---

HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
  ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
  OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...

---

20++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

* POSTS ABOUT HOSTS FILES I DID on "/." THAT HAVE DONE WELL BY OTHERS & WERE RATED HIGHLY, 26++ THUSFAR (from +3 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
  APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
  0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
  HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
  HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]

---

Windows 7, VISTA, & Server 2008 have a couple of "issues" I don't like in them, & you may not either, depending on your point of view (mine's based solely on efficiency & security), & if my take on these issues aren't "good enough"? I suggest reading what ROOTKIT.COM says, link URL is in my "p.s." @ the bottom of this post:

1.) HOSTS files being unable to use "0" for a blocking IP address - this started in 12/09/2008 after an "MS Patch Tuesday" in fact for VISTA (when it had NO problem using it before that, as Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 still can)... & yes, this continues in its descendants, Windows Server 2008 &/or Windows 7 as well.

So, why is this a "problem" you might ask?

Ok - since you can technically use either:

a.) 127.0.0.1 (the "loopback adapter address")
b.) 0.0.0.0 (next smallest & next most efficient)
c.) The smallest & fastest plain-jane 0

PER EACH HOSTS FILE ENTRY/RECORD...

You can use ANY of those, in order to block out known bad sites &/or adbanners in a HOSTS file this way??

Microsoft has "promoted bloat" in doing so... no questions asked.

Simply because

1.) 127.0.0.1 = 9 bytes in size on disk & is the largest/slowest
2.) 0.0.0.0 = 7 bytes & is the next largest/slowest in size on disk
3.) 0 = 1 byte

(& HOSTS files extend across EVERY webbrowser, email program, or in general every webbound program you use & thus HOSTS are "global" in coverage this way AND function on any OS that uses the BSD derived IP stack (which most all do mind you, even MS is based off of it, as BSD's IS truly, "the best in the business"), & when coupled with say, IE restricted zones, FireFox addons like NoScript &/or AdBlock, or Opera filter.ini/urlfilter.ini, for layered security in this capacity for webbrowsers & SOME email programs (here, I mean ones "built into" browsers themselves like Opera has for example))

MS has literally promoted bloat in this file, making it load slower from disk, into memory! This compounds itself, the more entries your HOSTS file contains... & for instance? Mine currently contains nearly 654,000 entries of known bad adbanners, bad websites, &/or bad nameservers (used for controlling botnets, misdirecting net requests, etc. et al).

Now, IF I were to use 127.0.0.1? My "huge" HOSTS file would be approximately 27mb in size... using 0.0.0.0 (next smallest) it would be 19mb in size - HOWEVER? Using 0 as my blocking IP, it is only 14mb in size. See my point?

(For loads either in the local DNS cache, or system diskcache if you run w/out the local DNS client service running, this gets slower the larger each HOSTS file entry is (which you have to stall the DNS client service in Windows for larger ones, especially if you use a "giant HOSTS file" (purely relative term, but once it goes over (iirc) 4mb in size, you have to cut the local DNS cache client service)))

NO questions asked - the physics of it backed me up in theory alone, but when I was questioned on it for PROOF thereof?

I wrote a small test program to load such a list into a "pascal record" (which is analagous to a C/C++ structure), which is EXACTLY what the DNS client/DNS API does as well, using a C/C++ structure (basically an array of sorts really, & a structure/record is a precursor part to a full-blown CLASS or OBJECT, minus the functions built in, this is for treating numerous variables as a SINGLE VARIABLE (for efficiency, which FORTRAN as a single example, lacks as a feature, @ least Fortran 77 did, but other languages do not))!

I even wrote another that just loaded my HOSTS file's entirety into a listbox, same results... slowest using 127.0.0.1, next slowest using 0.0.0.0, & fastest using 0.

And, sure: Some MORE "goes on" during DNS API loads (iirc, removal of duplicated entries (which I made sure my personal copy does not have these via a program I wrote to purge it of duplicated entries + to sort each entry alphabetically for easier mgt. via say, notepad.exe) & a conversion from decimal values to hex ones), but, nevertheless? My point here "holds true", of slower value loads, record-by-record, from a HOSTS file, when the entries become larger.

So, to "prove my point" to my naysayers?

I timed it using the Win32 API calls "GetTickCount" & then again, using the API calls of "QueryPerformanceCounter" as well, seeing the SAME results (a slowdown when reading in this file from disk, especially when using the larger 127.0.0.1 or 0.0.0.0 line item entries in a HOSTS file, vs. the smaller/faster/more efficient 0).

In my test, I saw a decline in speed/efficiency in my test doing so by using larger blocking addresses (127.0.0.1 &/or 0.0.0.0, vs. the smallest/fastest in 0)... proving me correct on this note!

On this HOSTS issue, and the WFP design issue in my next post below?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I am convinced they (MS) do NOT have a good reason for doing this... because of their lack of response there on this note. Unless it has something to do with IPv6 (most folks use IPv4 still), I cannot understand WHY this design mistake imo, has occurred, in HOSTS files...

AND

2.) The "Windows Filtering Platform", which is now how the firewall works in VISTA, Server 2008, & Windows 7...

Sure it works in this new single point method & it is simple to manage & "sync" all points of it, making it easier for network techs/admins to manage than the older 3 part method, but that very thing works against it as well, because it is only a single part system now!

Thus, however?

This "single layer design" in WFP, now represents a SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE/ATTACK for malware makers to 'take down'!

(Which is 1 of the 1st things a malware attempts to do, is to take down any software firewalls present, or even the "Windows Security Center" itself which should warn you of the firewall "going down", & it's fairly easy to do either by messaging the services they use, or messing up their registry init. settings)

VS. the older (up to) 3 part method used in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003, for protecting a system via IP Filtering, the Windows native Firewall, &/or IPSEC. Each of which uses diff. drivers, & layers of the IP stack to function from, as well as registry initialization settings.

Think of the older 3 part design much the same as the reason why folks use door handle locks, deadbolt locks, & chain locks on their doors... multipart layered security.

(Each of which the latter older method used, had 3 separate drivers & registry settings to do their jobs, representing a "phalanx like"/"zone defense like" system of backup of one another (like you see in sports OR ancient wars, and trust me, it WORKS, because on either side of yourself, you have "backup", even if YOU "go down" vs. the opponent)).

I.E.-> Take 1 of the "older method's" 3 part defenses down? 2 others STILL stand in the way, & they are not that simple to take them ALL down...

(Well, @ least NOT as easily as "taking out" a single part defensive system like WFP (the new "Windows Filtering Platform", which powers the VISTA, Windows Server 2008, & yes, Windows 7 firewall defense system)).

On this "single-part/single-point of attack" WFP (vs. Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003's IP stack defense design in 3-part/zone defense/phalanx type arrangement) as well as the HOSTS issue in my post above?

I also then questioned MS' own staff, even their VP of development (S. Sinofsky) on this here -> http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/02/09/recognizing-improvements-in-windows-7-handwriting.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage [msdn.com] & other places in their blogs, to get them to tell me WHY this seemingly intentional inefficiency was implemented... & I have YET to get a solid LOGICAL answer on this as to why it was done - THUS, @ this point?

I'll stick to my thoughts on it, until I am shown otherwise & proven wrong.

----

Following up on what I wrote up above, so those here reading have actual technical references from Microsoft themselves ("The horses' mouth"), in regards to the Firewall/PortFilter/IPSec designs (not HOSTS files, that I am SURE I am correct about, no questions asked) from my "Point #2" above?

Thus, I'll now note how:

----

1.) TCP/IP packet processing paths differences between in how Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 did it (IPSEC.SYS (IP Security Policies), IPNAT.SYS (Windows Firewall), IPFLTDRV.SYS (Port Filtering), & TCPIP.SYS (base IP driver))...

2.) AND, how VISTA/Server 2008/Windows 7 do it now currently, using a SINGLE layer (WFP)...

----

First off, here is HOW it worked in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 - using 3 discrete & different drivers AND LEVELS/LAYERS of the packet processing path they worked in:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb878072.aspx [microsoft.com]

The Cable Guy - June 2005: TCP/IP Packet Processing Paths

====

The following components process IP packets:

IP forwarding Determines the next-hop interface and address for packets being sent or forwarded.

TCP/IP filtering Allows you to specify by IP protocol, TCP port, or UDP port, the types of traffic that are acceptable for incoming local host traffic (packets destined for the host). You can configure TCP/IP filtering on the Options tab from the advanced properties of the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) component in the Network Connections folder.

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK [mailto]

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcac

Re:Slashdot staff -- stop the abuse or be sued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549595)

wow!! I think Slashdot should impose a message size limit. This troll posted a ridiculously long posting, far greater than the largest normal post I've ever seen. What do you think?

Re:Slashdot staff -- stop the abuse or be sued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549635)

That's nothing, this one looks about three to five times shorter than usual. Maybe Slashdot are doing something after all.

But it's still not enough to block this apk asshole. What's really funny is the "geek angst" part of his rant, as if his own abuse of Slashdot wasn't geek angst at all. What a douchebag.

Car analogy (5, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549441)

Yeah, that car I just bought? I'd like to cancel that payment stuff and just keep the car.

Re:Car analogy (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549523)

Well in this case you'd have to continue paying for the car but it no longer can move.

Re:Car analogy (1)

Michael Casavant (2876793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549567)

No, in this case you can pay for the car but only drive it for emergencies.

Re:Car analogy (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549541)

The point here is that nobody is claiming like they aren't giving you a contract with regards to the car. An auto loan is clearly a contract and most dealers don't advertise them anyways, they typically advertise the cars and their financing options.

In this case, T-Mobile is advertising no contract plans that aren't actually no contract plans, which is why they're getting sued. I wasn't aware that they were doing this, but if they really were, then the advertisements are clearly misleading.

Re:Car analogy (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549699)

The phone service plan (i.e., getting a signal) is no contract. Buying the phone itself, *if you choose to buy a phone from them using an installment plan*, is a contract.

Re:Car analogy (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549763)

And your point is? Viewing the commercials I didn't see anything that indicated that. I'll have to pay closer attention next time they come on, but I don't recall seeing any fine print that indicated that.

The WA AG is suing because it's a false advertisement, not because the terms of the deal are necessarily unfair, but because they've apparently had ads which were deceptive put on the air.

Re:Car analogy (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549791)

Do the ads say you have to buy the phone from T-Mobile?

Re:Car analogy (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549757)

I'm a subscriber, and I don't see the deception. Somewhat inadequate disclosure, maybe, but I have no service contract. And I always understood that the phone was so much down, so much a month for so many months. And that was EXACTLY how it was explained.

Now, I bought my new phone for $99 down, $51 tax (dead giveway that this is not so simple there!!!), shipping, and $2/month for 24 months. My phone will cost me about $636, tax & shipping included.

And in 2 years, when I 've paid off the phone, or sooner if I choose, my bill goes down $20/month.

The last 2 times I kept a phone beyond the contract expiration, I kept one for 18 months past, the other for 8 months past. In both cases, my bill did not go down. I was still paying as if I were paying off a subsidized (or financed) phone - terrific windfall for my carrier. Now, that won't happen. And I keep the phone. And it will actually work on another carrier's system; I am permitted to unlock it when I pay it off, if not before.

BTW, in TMobile's new plans, there is very little incentive to lock the phone. They get paid for the phone anyways, no contract means leaving whenever, so locking is something of a legacy from the dark past. AT&T, are you listening?

Re:Car analogy (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549907)

I'm a subscriber, and I don't see the deception.

Then you aren't looking closely. If you cancel your service in less than two years you must immediately pay the balance on that loan for your phone. That's a contract tied to your "no-contract" service.

Re:Car analogy (1)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549779)

T-Mobile is advertising no contract plans that aren't actually no contract plans

They actually *are* no-contract plans, it's the phone that has a loan (contract). So while you're kinda functionally correct in your statement, legally you're not, which is why this likely will go away.

Personally, I haven't seen them be deceptive about it when you actually go into the store or try to buy a phone online; they're very clearly 1) showing you your separate monthly cost of the phone and 2) showing how much left you owe on it. The whole contract thing may be a minor legal distinction that they're technically correct in advertising, but I haven't seen them be overtly deceptive like the AG seems to claim.

Re:Car analogy (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549823)

There is no fixed term to your service, there is no penalty for terminating the service (you just pay back what you borrowed, no extra $100 "convenience" fee), and there's no automatic renewal. I haven't read all of the fine print, but if they're anything like my own cell phone company (which also has a no contract option), you can pay off the balance owing for the phone at any time, too.

You're being pedantic and deliberately obtuse, when you know full well that they are not offering a term contract.

Re:Car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549737)

ObamaCar!

Re:Car analogy (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549867)

Tiny difference. It's more like the dealer where you have that monthly plan going also has a fuel station and you'd have to use his fuel station for your fuel needs or the rest of the amount you owe is due tomorrow.

Schrödinger's Contract (2)

mikeroySoft (1659329) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549443)

The "no-contract-contract", sold from within a sealed box.

Re:Schrödinger's Contract (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549601)

Can I sign it (the Schrödinger's Contract) with quantum cryptography? Then no one, even myself, will know what I've signed or even whether I've signed it...

Re:Schrödinger's Contract (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549629)

But it has a "no recursion" clause inside the "no recursion" clause.

Deceptive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549447)

Deceptive? I thought that was clear as day.

What an idiot (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549449)

The contract is only if you don't pay for the phone upfront. Obviously if you are pating for it a month at a time they want you to finish paying before you leave.

Right now, you can walk into a T Mobile store, plunk down cash and get a smartphone and not have a contract beyond a month to month agreement; which you can end without fees.

I wonder if it was AT&T or Verizon the complained?

Re:What an idiot (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549527)

Right now, you can walk into a T Mobile store, plunk down cash and get a smartphone and not have a contract beyond a month to month agreement; which you can end without fees.

You can do that with just about any carrier. The only real difference is that T-Mobile cuts you a break on your per month price for not taking a subsidized phone. With Verizon, AT&T, or any other carrier you can sign up without a contract, its just that you'll be paying the same price as the guys who took the free/cheap phones.

No you can't (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549691)

Try sprint. Even if out of contract and paying month to month, ANY change to your service and they FORCE you into a two year contract. Even if your phone is totally paid for. Terminate early and get an early termination fee.

Re:What an idiot (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549569)

The point is that this has been the case with all the carriers for quite some time. You could go month to month and not get the included phone. Now you don't get a rate break if you don't do it, but you don't have the early termination fee either.

By advertising them as a no-contract network they were deceiving potential customers and putting themselves at a competitive advantage without actually having to do anything other than claim that they were doing something differently.

Re:What an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549727)

No. The service really is no contract. The ENTIRELY OPTIONAL 0% interest loan they give you to subsidize the phone has a contract that requires you to pay it off if you cancel service.

Re:What an idiot (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549797)

Does "no contracts" mean "You *can* get service without a contract" or does it mean "It is impossible to get stuck in any contract".

It is pretty obvious that they mean the former. The only way to offer the latter is to remove the *option* to pay for your phone over 2 years and force every customer to pay for their phone up front.

This is a better system because it gives customers more options.

Also I'm fairly sure that they explain to people that they are signing a contract to pay for their phone when they give you an iphone (something that retails for like $600) for $99. It's just not a service contract. It's a loan contract.

Idiot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549465)

Washington State AG is an idiot and should learn reading AND comprehension.

Re:Idiot (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549847)

Washington State AG is an idiot and should learn reading AND comprehension.

Bullshit.
You can be "technically" correct, yet absolutely and blatantly misleading (e.g., "unlimited" internet with low download caps, because unlimited refers to hypothetical download speed, not download amount). He is not saying "false advertising", which it is not. He is saying "deceptive advertising", which it is.

Customers are likely to misunderstand the statement, since people often associate "contract" with "pay termination fee" and will quite likely assume no contract means no-termination fee in this case.

Since AG has no power to re-educate all T-Mobile customers, he is trying to block deceptive advertisement, which is certain to mislead at least some people.

Stupid (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549467)

But, you have the option of buying a phone off newegg or ebay and activating it on a plan with no contract or termination fee. Why WOULDN'T they charge you for the hardware if you haven't paid it off yet?

Re:Stupid (3, Informative)

0racle (667029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549703)

Exactly, there are no early termination fees, there is pay for the hardware you haven't finished paying for yet.

Oh I'm sure that there are no shortage of people that 'didn't realize that' but T-Mobile shouldn't be on the hook for the stupidity of the public.

As a side note, I will probably be switching to T-Mobile this weekend. I am fully aware that if I decide switch to someone else next month, I will need to pay for the phone completely and not over the course of 2 years.

Re:Stupid (3, Informative)

0racle (667029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549729)

Oh and BTW Washington AG, the pay for you phone fee is not hidden, they're very up front about it.

I am shocked (4, Funny)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549469)

I can't believe that cute girl would do such a thing.

Re:I am shocked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549701)

Carly Foulkes [wikipedia.org] is no longer actively part of T-Mobile's advertising campaigns.

Which sucks, because I'd sport a serious "cell tower" every time I saw her on TV. (Not a practical configuration for coitus, but, hey!)

Wha---? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549471)

Okay, so make them pay the full price upfront. Holding users responsible for the product they buy (even while being nice and letting them pay in installments) is not the same as generating penalty fees and other nonsense for early termination.

It is no-contract *service* (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549475)

It's like buying a carâ"you can buy it with or without a service contract for oil changes, but that doesn't mean you don't have to pay off the loan.

No annual cell contract (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549485)

There is no annual contract for cell phone usage.

There is an annual contract for the cell phone. Or you can pay for your phone on your cell phone with your credit card. Those don't have 'annual fees' (usually) but you still have to pay them off.

what is wrong with that AG ?? huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549497)

Huh? Making them pay back the price of their phone a day after getting a discount on it is totally reasonable! A contract CANCELLATION fee, on the other hand, would be totally wrong if it's supposed to be non-contractual. Or, if they pay full price for a phone or activate their own phone, they shouldn't be charged anything for terminating service. But...geez... a discounted handset... there should be an ever decreasing fee for termination that starts with the difference between retail value and how much the consumer paid for the device.

Does this really surprise anyone? (0)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549501)

I'm not surprised in the least. T-Mobile is too busy scamming people out of their money to think about things like security (celebrity phone hacks) or actually getting a good infrastructure available (one bar in my apartment, the tower is 300 feet away, clear LOS.)

But to be fair, that same tower also carries Verizon, and they get the same service level in my apartment.

Re:Does this really surprise anyone? (1)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549511)

T-Mobile is too busy scamming people out of their money

At least I'm getting scanned out of less money than I was at VZW/ATT.

Re:Does this really surprise anyone? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549589)

And that's sort of the point. T-Mobile might not be great, but it's less not great than most of the competitors.

Personally I'm likely to go with somebody like Sprint or Credomobile next time I need a new phone as they seem to be in less of a position to screw me over than the larger carriers. Plus, I found that Sprint coverage around here was by and large pretty reliable compared with Spotty AT&T coverage.

ALL carriers suck (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549723)

Oligopolies almost always have shitty service, period. You need at least about 7 companies competing to create real competition and real choice.

However, oligopolies have the pocket power to lobby heavily against anti-trust.

Re:Does this really surprise anyone? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549803)

"(one bar in my apartment, the tower is 300 feet away, clear LOS.)"

Another anecdotal complaint about service at a specific location.

Whatever the reason, don't you get it? Cell service is imperfect.You can find similar stories for E V E R Y carrier in your area. So if this is a problem that compels you to change carriers, you'll be changing to landlines.

Sorry, but such stories bespeak the sheer ignorance of the complaintant. It's not useful. Let it go, or move out of your brokeass apartment and choose to live where you get the features you desire, like sunshine and cell service. Sheesh, didn't you check before you signed the lease?

Re:Does this really surprise anyone? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549909)

I'm not surprised in the least. T-Mobile is too busy scamming people out of their money to think about things like security (celebrity phone hacks) or actually getting a good infrastructure available (one bar in my apartment, the tower is 300 feet away, clear LOS.)

But to be fair, that same tower also carries Verizon, and they get the same service level in my apartment.

Security happens in your phone. To depend on the carrier for anything beyond delivering the signal and keeping your registration info private is just naive. As far as infrastructure goes... it's true, in the past T-Mobile has suffered somewhat on the cell tower side but has improved lately. The last noticeable issue I had compared to other carriers was a couple of years ago.

What a silly thing to complain about (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549503)

T-Mobile is offering consumers the ability to pay for the phone over time - at the same overall cost as if they paid up front - and my state's AG is complaining that they are requiring you still pay for the phone if you walk away from their phone service.

My tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen. Since a recent past AG (Gregoire) became governor, I imagine this guy has political aspirations as well and is looking for resume padding he can offer up come election season.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (1)

martas (1439879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549607)

Seriously, instead of going after some of the truly egregious scams consumers face these days (pharma advertising, hello??), he picked a completely reasonable advertisement claim that you'd have to be a complete moron to misunderstand. Way to be on the little guy's side, Bob Ferguson.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549621)

So which competing Telco passed him a big wad of bills recently?

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549657)

Exactly. The service plan does NOT have a contract. If you choose to spread out the payments for the phone itself, then that will obviously have a contract, but that's a contract for the purchase of the phone itself, no different than any other deferred payment plan. If you want, you can pay for the phone upfront and not have any contract at all.

no, they're complaining about the ads (1, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549667)

They're complaining that the advertising claims there is no contract, when in fact there is still a contract about the phone....just not the cell service.

All they have to do is update the advertising to make it clear that the money is still owing on the phone--which is just common sense in any case.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549671)

Yeah, exactly.

T-Mobile, in effect, didn't change anything by starting this "No contract" campaign. Things still work the same. The key difference is after the two year subsidy is paid off, your phone bill goes down. This is in contrast to the other carriers, who keep charging the exact same even after the phone has been paid off.

So really, this whole thing is just a way for T-Mobile to easily communicate that advantage to the customers, because most of them never think about their bill paying for the phone subsidy.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549877)

Also, if you get a cheap phone, your bill is lower the whole time.

For example, and HTC One S is $5/month less than an HTC One, AND only $9.99 down (the cheapest of what I'd call a high-end phone they offer).

A nexus 4 is $3 less/month, and $50.00, some phones are free and $15 less/month.

When I go to Verizon I see varying amount of subsidy depending on the phone's price.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549711)

T-Mobile has a no contract option. People that opt to finance their phone just didn't choose it.

Re:What a silly thing to complain about (4, Interesting)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549761)

Mark my words, AT&T and/or Verizon put this AG up to it. We can't have that pesky competition stuff going on.

I'm missing the deception (1)

dirk (87083) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549515)

I don't see how they are being deceptive. There is no contract for their service. If you want to do financing for a phone through them, there is an agreement for that, but that is something entirely different and not required at all. I can go in there and get cell phone service and not sign a contract. I can even get cell phone coverage and buy a phone from them (outright) without a contract. But if I want to take advantage of their financing for phones, then of course I need to have some type of agreement about that. I don't need a contract to by something at Best Buy, but if I want to use their financing then I have to. That isn't false advertising, that is them offering additional services that I can take or leave.

I wonder.... (1)

waddgodd (34934) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549519)

I guess the "no contracts" thing would be true if you could stop service and just paythe phone installment monthly charge, because you're not paying a service contract at all, rather you're buying a phone on time payments, and part and parcel with time payments is if you stop paying the time payments, you owe for the whole purchase price. IANAL, don't try this at home, etc etc

Re:I wonder.... (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549859)

I think you can do that.

WHAT!!?!? (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549535)

You mean to tell me that T-Mobile isn't selling smartphones for the low-low price of a single month of their cheapest plan?!!?!? THAT'S A RIDICULOUS ASSAULT ON MY RIGHTS AND INTERNET PRIVACY AND STUFF!!!

Really? Who cares about this?

Bogus Story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549537)

T-Mobile's new plan is the least deceptive, most transparent plans in the entire business. Instead of the hundreds of confusing competing plans offered by their competitors which bundle service with a phone subsidy, T-Mobile has decided to have one, and only one plan -- it costs $50 a month for unlimited talk, text, and internet, with no contract. You can also add a payment plan for a phone, with terms spelled out in detail for each phone model.

T-Mobile is offering a simple, transparent plan, amid a sea of confusing opaque plans offered by the competitors. And, they've already agreed to change their advertising to make it even more transparent.

This story is just the editors posting a bogus troll to churn up page hits.

Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549545)

There is no contract, and no shenanigans.

There is no contract for the service. However, they do offer a payment plan for your phone if you don't want to pay for it 100% up front.

Just because you cancel your service doesn't mean you don't have to finish paying for the phone you bought on a totally separate payment plan.

Where is Washinton? (1)

Splitterside (1983872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549581)

Never been to Washinton before.

Re:Where is Washinton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549731)

Never been to Washinton before.

It's next to Idontknow and O'Reagan

Re:Where is Washinton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549775)

It is where southern congressmen hang out between rounds of golf.

Re:Where is Washinton? (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549777)

It's north of Oreon. Slashdot is running short on the Gs [wiktionary.org] today. That's why they otta run the slashverts, yo. You want your Gs with your headlines, otta watch the slashvertisements. Timothy otta et paid or someone be droppin the Gs!

It's a political story (1)

SSpade (549608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549585)

One that says much more about Bob Ferguson than it does T-Mobile.

They made me sign a contract recently (1, Informative)

bobjr94 (1120555) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549639)

I recently (after they came out with the no contract ads) added a 3rd line to my account (an older phone I owned outright) and I still had to sign a damn 2 year contract on that line, even though I provided my own hardware. And their ads didnt tell the truth either, they said add another phone to your account for only $5 a month. It was actually $15 a month, for $5 a month the new line did not include the use of any data or texting services, current on my plan. You had to pay extra to be able to use your data you already paid for. Another lie, unlimited 4G data, it says in the contracts unlimited upto your plans GB rating, then your speed is reduced to 2G data speeds.

Re:They made me sign a contract recently (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549821)

Go prepaid with automatic pay.

the "no contract" is for the phone service... (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549659)

The "no contract" portion is for the pay-as-you go cellular phone service. The "contract" portion, which some people may choose to utilize is for paying for a telephone over time with multiple payments spread out over some months to years. That "contract" portion is not needed if you bring your own phone. Perhaps if T-Mobile were more explicit in their ads saying
No contract if you bring your own phone to the game. Otherwise, still no contract for the monthly service, just a contract to buy the phone over time but with that cost explicitly stated instead of hidden and bundled into the monthly telephone+cell-service contract

I can see how people might get tricked or confused, but that's only if they don't have a brain. And I think, IMHO, that this particular AG has demonstrated that either he does NOT have a brain or that the one he has is not functioning as well as he believes it does. Hmmm... low brain activity... does this automatically qualify him for a congressional political run? ;>)

This isn't deceptive at all (3, Informative)

DavidinAla (639952) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549751)

All T-Mobile has done is separate the cost of the phone from the cost of the service. You can quit using the service at any time, but you still have to finish paying for the hardware you've purchased. How is that deceptive?

Idiocracy (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#43549807)

The termination charge is for the phone purchase, not the service contract. Are civil servants specially bred for this elite class of idiocy, or is part of their cerebral cortex normally removed as part of the interview?

It Would Be Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43549825)

It would be nice if he also made an effort to enforce the definition of the word "unlimited" against all of the carriers.

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