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Old 01-02-23, 07:55 AM   #1
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Default Peer-To-Peer News - The Week In Review - February 4th, ’23

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February 4th, 2023

Until Further Notice, Think Twice Before Using Google to Download Software

Over the past month, Google has been outgunned by malvertisers with new tricks.
Dan Goodin

Searching Google for downloads of popular software has always come with risks, but over the past few months, it has been downright dangerous, according to researchers and a pseudorandom collection of queries.

“Threat researchers are used to seeing a moderate flow of malvertising via Google Ads,” volunteers at Spamhaus wrote on Thursday. “However, over the past few days, researchers have witnessed a massive spike affecting numerous famous brands, with multiple malware being utilized. This is not ‘the norm.’”

One of many new threats: MalVirt

The surge is coming from numerous malware families, including AuroraStealer, IcedID, Meta Stealer, RedLine Stealer, Vidar, Formbook, and XLoader. In the past, these families typically relied on phishing and malicious spam that attached Microsoft Word documents with booby-trapped macros. Over the past month, Google Ads has become the go-to place for criminals to spread their malicious wares that are disguised as legitimate downloads by impersonating brands such as Adobe Reader, Gimp, Microsoft Teams, OBS, Slack, Tor, and Thunderbird.

On the same day that Spamhaus published its report, researchers from security firm Sentinel One documented an advanced Google malvertising campaign pushing multiple malicious loaders implemented in .NET. Sentinel One has dubbed these loaders MalVirt. At the moment, the MalVirt loaders are being used to distribute malware most commonly known as XLoader, available for both Windows and macOS. XLoader is a successor to malware also known as Formbook. Threat actors use XLoader to steal contacts' data and other sensitive information from infected devices.

The MalVirt loaders use obfuscated virtualization to evade end-point protection and analysis. To disguise real C2 traffic and evade network detections, MalVirt beacons to decoy command and control servers hosted at providers including Azure, Tucows, Choopa, and Namecheap. Sentinel One researcher Tom Hegel wrote:

As a response to Microsoft blocking Office macros by default in documents from the Internet, threat actors have turned to alternative malware distribution methods—most recently, malvertising. The MalVirt loaders we observed demonstrate just how much effort threat actors are investing in evading detection and thwarting analysis.

Malware of the Formbook family is a highly capable infostealer that is deployed through the application of a significant amount of anti-analysis and anti-detection techniques by the MalVirt loaders. Traditionally distributed as an attachment to phishing emails, we assess that threat actors distributing this malware are likely joining the malvertising trend.

Given the massive size of the audience threat actors can reach through malvertising, we expect malware to continue being distributed using this method.

Google representatives declined an interview. Instead, they provided the following statement:

Bad actors often employ sophisticated measures to conceal their identities and evade our policies and enforcement. To combat this over the past few years, we’ve launched new certification policies, ramped up advertiser verification, and increased our capacity to detect and prevent coordinated scams. We are aware of the recent uptick in fraudulent ad activity. Addressing it is a critical priority and we are working to resolve these incidents as quickly as possible.

Anecdotal evidence that Google malvertising is out of control isn’t hard to come by. Searches seeking software downloads are probably the most likely to turn up malvertising. Take, for instance, the results Google returned for a search Thursday looking for “visual studio download”:

Clicking that Google-sponsored link redirected me to downloadstudio[.]net, which is flagged by VirusTotal as malicious by only a single endpoint provider:

On Thursday evening, the download this site offered was detected as malicious by 43 antimalware engines:

The download is malicious:

Searching Google for the Tor anonymity browser didn’t fare any better. Clicking on the Google Ad returned for “Tor download” directed to the domain torprojects[.]pw.

The IP address that was hosting the site, 208.91.197[.]91, was flagged by five separate engines:

Searches for other software, including Thunderbird, MSI Afterburner, and Audacity, returned similar badness.

It’s clear that despite all the progress Google has made filtering malicious sites out of returned ads and search results over the past couple decades, criminals have found ways to strike back. These criminals excel at finding the latest techniques to counter the filtering. As soon as Google devises a way to block them, the criminals figure out new ways to circumvent those protections.

One example is documented here by Sentinel One’s Hegel:

Formbook and XLoader disguise real C2 traffic among smokescreen HTTP requests with encoded and encrypted content to multiple domains, randomly selected from an embedded list. Only one of the domains is the real C2 server and the rest are decoys. A sample we analyzed issued HTTP GET and/or POST requests with encoded and encrypted HTTP data to 17 domains (16 endpoints) listed in the IOC table below. Previous research provides detailed information on how XLoader in particular implements this technique.

The technique of camouflaging the true C2 domain through beaconing to multiple domains remains consistent with the previously noted research. The malware beacons to domains containing legitimate and/or unused registered domains. As shown in the following image, as a snapshot of some domains the malware contacts, there is a wide variety of domain times, hosting providers, and age between their relevant registration date.

Until Google devises new defenses, the decoy domains and other obfuscation techniques remain an effective way to conceal the true control servers used in the rampant MalVirt and other malvertising campaigns. The malware MalVirt pushes is equally elusive to detection. The payload uses the NtQueryInformationProcess and NtQuerySystemInformation functions to detect the presence of user- and kernel-land debuggers.

A plea to Google

It’s clear at the moment that malvertisers have gained the upper hand over Google’s considerable might. Spamhaus researchers wrote:

The Spamhaus Project’s domain expert, Carel Bitter, questioned why Google Ads approved adverts linking to new domains. Throughout the security industry, the immediate use of newly registered domains is associated with high-risk activity. If you take a look at the WHOIS data for one of the Nvidia lookalike domains, it was created less than a week ago:

Carel acknowledges that he’s an expert on domains, not Google Ads security—we’d love to hear from you if you have detailed knowledge in this area and can help us understand why Google is allowing the use of recently registered domains.

In the meantime, we hope Google Ads can rapidly quash this wave of malicious behavior across their platform.

Until Google regains its footing, people should be extremely cautious when searching Google, and likely other search sites, particularly for software downloads.

US Government Publishes its Latest Notorious Markets list of Piracy Sites
Chris Cooke

The office of the United States Trade Representative published its latest Notorious Markets Report earlier this week. It’s the annual report that outlines the websites and physical market places that cause the most concern for America intellectual property owners, who all make submissions to the USTR before the big Notorious Markets list is published.

The list includes online platforms that mainly exist to facilitate copyright infringement, as well as otherwise legitimate platforms – including social networks, messaging platforms and online marketplaces – which are nevertheless used to share copyright protected works without licence or to sell counterfeit goods.

Plenty of the usual suspects appear again, including stream-ripping sites like FLVTO and MP3juices. Plus the good old Pirate Bay still gets itself a listing.

“As one of the first bittorrent indexing websites and one of the most vocal in openly promoting piracy, The Pirate Bay reportedly remains the most frequently visited bittorrent index site in the world”, the report notes. “The Pirate Bay is available in 35 languages and serves a global market, and it has historically had multiple alternative domains hosted globally”.

The site continues to operate despite web-blocking orders being secured against it by copyright owners in many countries. The USTR report notes that “authorities in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK have issued orders blocking access to this site”.

This year’s edition of the report also has a section discussing “the impact of online piracy on US workers”. It states: “Online piracy has real consequences and harms the economic security of workers in the entertainment, media and other creative industries. Pirating of digital media can result in lowered revenues and wages across the industry, impairing workers’ benefits and job security”.

A key aim of the report is to inform governments and regulators around the world about the websites and marketplaces which the US reckons are damaging its IP interests, and which should therefore be subject to regulation or action by relevant agencies in other countries.

The Recording Industry Association Of America was among those welcoming the latest edition of the report earlier this week.

Its CEO Mitch Glazier says: “This year’s Notorious Markets Report shines a much-needed spotlight on the devastating impact of copyright theft on American creators. The core message of today’s report is clear: when creative content is stolen, it not only harms the economy and businesses, it hurts real people. Copyright enforcement is necessary to protect livelihoods”.

You can download the report here.

Movie, TV Piracy Steals Potential $13.7B in Annual US Revenue: Report

The report from Ampere Analysis and Synamedia found more than half of pirate viewers pay for pirate TV service, while 54% also pay for legal services.
Bevin Fletcher

Pirating TV and movies may not be a new issue, but research from Ampere Analysis and Synamedia shows just how much potential revenue is being stolen off the table each year.

In a survey of seven countries, the report finds the U.S. has the most to gain by clamping down and converting pirate viewers to legal subscribers. Stopping movie and TV piracy in the U.S. has the potential to drive $13.7 billion in annual revenue for the market, according to Ampere’s findings commissioned by Synamedia, with an additional $5 billion added to the pot related to sports.

The report said this would generate $5.9 billion in annual income for U.S. streaming providers. And while there’s a vast variety of content available both legally and illegally, the 28 most heavily pirated movies and TV titles alone would contribute up to $1.8 billion in new revenue in the U.S.

Synamedia’s report involved 16,000 consumers in Brazil, Italy, India, Germany, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. The research determined behavioral pathways consumers would take if sports and entertainment piracy was completely blocked, accounting for the impact on cinema attendance, transactional behavior, traditional pay TV and streaming subscription upgrades. To generate revenue estimates it took into account both immediate revenue from a new subscription to a service or channel as well as the entire annual customer value based on churn information.

Although sports are a highly pirated category, the Ampere analysis found fragmentation of content rights across an increasing number of services is now affecting piracy in the entertainment market in a similar fashion. Per the study, the value of entertainment piracy is 300% greater, or three times bigger, than sports – with the latter representing a $9.8 billion potential revenue opportunity across the seven markets surveyed if piracy was stopped, compared to the additional $21.8 billion revenue potential from converting movie and TV pirates to legal services.

Based on the report, it looks as though the growing number of streaming services consumers subscribe to could be contributing to more people turning to pirated content. Ampere said pirate viewers tend to be those that are most engaged with content, and as the number of subscriptions rises so too does their likeliness to watch pirated content. A whopping 91% of respondents who had access to five or more legal video subscription services have also watched illegal content.

“There is a persistent myth that the pirate consumer won't pay and will never pay. This research overturns this received wisdom, with more than half of all pirate viewers paying for pirate TV services and 54% also paying for legal services,” said Guy Bisson, executive director and co-founder of Ampere Analysis. “We already knew sports piracy was a big-money issue, but what surprised us most about this study was the true scale of impact on the US major studios and Hollywood as a whole.”

Stealing laughs

When it comes to the kind of entertainment content consumers are watching illegally, laughs topped the list.

The report found comedy to be the most pirated genre of entertainment, with half of all pirate viewers streaming that type of content illegally. Top titles driving piracy in the comedy category include “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso.” The next most-pirated categories included action and adventure, and crime and thriller.

And for those debuting major films alongside streaming services, piracy of even a single title can have major revenue implications.

The report found that stopping piracy of one major Hollywood movie release could create revenues between $130 million and $280 million in the U.S. Money-making superhero blockbusters present the biggest opportunity – for example, the analysis found that if “Spider Man: No Way Home” was blocked from piracy, it would lead to potential revenue of over $400 million for a studio streaming service. That’s based on the annual lifetime value of streaming subscribers as the research also measured the impact of individual movie titles and TV shows on consumers’ interest in signing up for services.

“Unless the industry takes action, the fragmentation of premium content compounded by the current economic climate will continue to drive viewers to both paid and free piracy services. This represents a real risk to rights holders, broadcasters and streaming providers,” said Avigail Gutman, VP of Intelligence and Security Operations at Synamedia. “As well as using tools and techniques to protect content and services, operators can counter the rise in piracy by ensuring content is easy to find and meeting consumers’ demands for mobile-first services, as well as more aggregated services and billing.”

While password sharing is a common practice, it’s also an issue for streaming providers, with Synamedia software identifying both “casual sharing” and “fraudulent sharing” when it comes to piracy and fraud detection and response.

Netflix may be top of mind the streaming industry about its intentions to crackdown on account and password sharing as it looks to new avenues for growth. The streaming giant plans to roll out mechanisms more widely in Q1 to monetize users who are sharing the service among different households. Netflix has estimated more than 100 million households are sharing accounts, saying in Q4 results that it “undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business.”

While the SVOD giant has tested out paid sharing in certain Latin America markets, this week it said details for implementing it in the U.S. have yet to be confirmed.

Why is the Modi Documentary so Hard to Find? Some Blame Lies with the BBC

Copyright claims by the BBC are making a bad situation worse.
Russell Brandom

For just over a week, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has demanded online platforms remove links to a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which explores his role in communal violence in Gujarat in 2002. The takedowns have been an alarming demonstration of the powers of the country’s recent IT law, which grants new powers to suppress content that “threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India.”

But not all the takedowns of the documentary are related to the Indian government’s request. The BBC has issued its own series of takedowns on copyright grounds, which have gone largely unreported. To outside observers, those takedowns may have appeared to be the result of pressure from the Indian government.

Reached by Rest of World, Facebook’s parent company Meta identified takedown notices from the BBC, rather than a request from the Indian government, as the reason for removing the documentary from the platform. “The content was removed due to copyright claims by the rights holder,” a Meta representative said.

The BBC confirmed that it has issued copyright takedowns to multiple platforms hosting unauthorized copies of the documentary. “We have asked websites and other file-sharing platforms identified as currently hosting the content (either the full episode or significant parts of) to remove it for copyright reasons,” a representative said.

Per the representative, the only online access authorized by the BBC is through its iPlayer service, which is restricted to users within the United Kingdom.

The BBC did not name specific platforms that have received takedown notices, but the list may include the Internet Archive, which hosted a mirrored version of the documentary earlier this week. The mirrored version was removed sometime before Thursday morning. YouTube had previously confirmed to CNN’s Oliver Darcy that it removed some copies of the documentary at the request of the BBC. Neither YouTube nor the Internet Archive responded to Rest of World’s request for comment.

The first episode of the documentary examines Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, during which he served as chief minister of the province. The riots, which left more than 1,000 people dead, have been described as an act of ethnic cleansing against the region’s Muslim population. India’s supreme court cleared Modi of legal responsibility for the violence in 2012. The court cleared Modi of any wrongdoing again last year, dismissing a petition filed in 2018. But his actions as chief minister at the time remain both controversial and politically sensitive.

Titled The Modi Question, the BBC’s documentary unearths few new claims about the riots but affirms many alarming aspects of the violence and has been vociferously denounced by government officials as a result. On Saturday, a senior adviser to India’s broadcasting ministry called the film “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as ‘documentary.’” The ministry issued official takedown notices to Twitter shortly afterward. As a result of the alarming public statements, many takedowns related to the documentary have been treated as the direct result of Indian government action.

Taking place alongside the public denunciations from Indian officials, BBC copyright claims may have unintentionally bolstered the apparent impact of India’s censorship orders. Services like YouTube and Facebook typically respond to rights holder claims quickly and apply takedowns across their entire platform. But it’s rare for a political censorship claim to receive the same treatment, even if it’s backed up by national law.

On a podcast this week, former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos expressed particular surprise that the takedowns were not restricted to users with Indian IP addresses. “Often when companies have complied [with censorship orders], they’ve tried to comply in a way that is minimally impactful,” Stamos said, “and to resist until you’re absolutely forced to.” He later characterized the move as “a major departure from the unwritten policy of major U.S. platforms to resist censorship requests.”

The copyright claims do not explain Twitter’s broad compliance with the Indian orders. The BBC explicitly denied sending any takedown requests to Twitter, and a report with the Lumen database confirms that at least 50 tweets were removed at the direct request of the Indian government. Those tweets include two posts by the actor John Cusack, which caught the attention of Western audiences when removed earlier this week.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

Showtime to Be Rebranded ‘Paramount+ with Showtime,’ Added to Paramount+ Premium Tier
Matt Tamanini

It’s been a long time coming, but later this year, Paramount Global will finally fully integrate the streaming arm of its premium cable channel Showtime into its flagship streaming service Paramount+. To mark the occasion, the company will be rebranding both the ad-free pricing tier of Paramount+ and the iconic cable network under a single name, “Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.”

This newly unified offering is intended to bring all of the company’s most popular shows and movies under the same umbrella in order to highlight the breadth and depth of their libraries. As a result, a Paramount spokesperson has confirmed to The Streamable that while there will be no changes to the linear distribution of Showtime programming, but the existing SHOWTIME streaming platform will be sunset later this year.

Since rebranding as Paramount Global early last year, the company has prided itself on being a multiplatform, global content company, and this will further allow the it to prove that.

“This new combined offering demonstrates how we can leverage our entire collection of content to drive deeper connections with consumers and greater value for our distribution partners,” Paramount CEO Bob Bakish told company employees in a memo. “This change will also drive stronger alignment across our domestic and international Paramount+ offerings, as international Paramount+ already includes Showtime content. And, very importantly, this integration will unlock operational efficiencies and financial benefits across our broader portfolio.”

While housing all of the company’s most popular IP in a single streaming experience will help customers, it also has a benefit for the company as well. This move will more closely align Paramount’s domestic streaming operation with how the company operates internationally, where SHOWTIME programming is often already a part of the larger Paramount+ platform. Also, by unifying some of the operations of the two disparate streaming services, Paramount will be able to achieve a number of administrative and technological cost savings, making the business side of content creation more profitable.

However, as media companies have been going through high-profile layoffs recently, Bakish vowed to be transparent with any changes to come related to this integration.

“While we are confident this is the right move for our company, our consumers, and our partners,” he said, “we know this change brings uncertainty for the teams working on these brands and businesses. We are committed to being as transparent and thoughtful as possible throughout this process, and we expect to share additional details in the coming weeks.”

Paramount did confirm that the move will not impact the existing ad-supported Essentials plan but was unable to shed any light on whether or not customers who are not interested in SHOWTIME programming will be able to subscribe exclusively to the Premium tier on its own.

One of the benefits that combining the services has is that it makes the streaming experience better for consumers, eliminating the pain points of either having to switch between services or navigate to a different portion of the app. Tom Ryan, Paramount’s president and CEO of streaming, believes that these types of changes — in addition to yet-to-be-announced enhancements — will make viewing Paramount content better across the board.

“By further integrating SHOWTIME into Paramount+, we will now be able to deliver a seamless, fully integrated multiplatform premium service to our consumers with more of the original, culture-shaping content they love,” Ryan said. “This enhanced offering serves our audiences and our creative partners – with an even greater ability to scale our franchises and build hits across the Paramount+ universe in linear and streaming.”

Bakish confirmed that Chris McCarthy will continue to run Showtime’s studios and oversee network operations. McCarthy told employees on Monday that the move makes Paramount+ a more robust platform, with the premium cable content appealing to a different demographic of viewers than are normally engaging with the streamer.

“The SHOWTIME brand has always attracted audiences who prefer content that has more edge and more mature themes, and that focuses on complicated characters and layered worlds,” he said. “SHOWTIME content appeals to metro-minded viewers who are more culturally diverse with a higher concentration living in cities vs. the population at large. These audiences and themes are complementary to the Paramount+ brand, which is much broader, appealing to the entire family and general market audiences across the country.”

Spotify Hits 205 Million Paid Subscribers, Topping User Growth Targets for Q4 With Record Total Quarterly Gain
Todd Spangler

Spotify packed on 10 million Premium customers in the last three months of 2022 to stand at 205 million, topping its previous guidance. The growth of its paid subs, up 14% year over year, was “aided by promotional intake and household plans,” the company said.

Overall, the streamer gained 33 million total monthly active users in the fourth quarter — a record high — to reach 489 million (free and paid), up 20% year over year. Amid signs of a flagging economy, Spotify posted €3.17 billion in revenue, up 18% from the year-earlier period an in-line with guidance, and a net loss of €270 million (versus a net loss of €39 million in Q4 2021). Operating loss of €231 million for Q4 was better than its projection of -€300 million.

Shares of Spotify popped as much as 12% in trading Tuesday on the results. The streaming-audio company had projected ending Q4 with 202 million paid subs and total monthly active users of 479 million, handily beating on both fronts.

“We ended 2022 with strong Q4 performance as nearly all of our [key performance indicators] surpassed guidance,” Spotify said in its quarterly shareholder deck. The company said revenue growth, excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates, was ahead of expectations.

Meanwhile, Spotify’s ad-supported revenue in Q4 grew 14% year over year, to €449 million, led by podcasting gains in the mid-30% range. The company’s gross margin for the quarter was 25.3%, slightly above guidance “primarily as a result of lower-than-expected spend on new podcast content investments” as well as “broad-based music favorability.”

Ahead of the Q4 report, Spotify last week cut 6% of its headcount, laying off about 600 employees. The company also announced the exit of Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer — who led Spotify’s push into podcasting over the past four years. In addition, senior execs Gustav Söderström and Alex Norström were promoted the position of co-president, reporting to CEO Daniel Ek.

On the earnings call Tuesday, Ek admitted that he had “overinvested” in Spotify’s business, requiring the company to cut jobs. “I still believe it was the right call to invest, and I would do it again,” the CEO said. “But things change, and the macro-environment has changed significantly in the last year. And in hindsight, I probably got a little carried away and overinvested relative to the uncertainty we saw shaping up in the market.”

The executive reorg was designed to speed up decision-making and to let management look at Spotify’s operations “holistically,” according to Ek. “The management changes” — including Ostroff’s departure — “really had nothing to do with the strategy around podcasting.”

Spotify’s operating expenses jumped 44% in the fourth quarter, to €1.03 billion, which it said were “driven primarily by higher personnel costs related to headcount growth” across its global ad sales team and higher advertising expenses.

Spotify said its projections for the first quarter of 2023 are “subject to substantial uncertainty.” The company expects revenue of €3.1 billion and an operating loss of €194 million (including a €35 million-€45 million charge for severance-related expenses in Q1). Spotify forecast hitting 500 million monthly active users in Q1, which would represent a net gain of 11 million, and 207 million Premium subscribers, implying 2 million net new subscribers in the quarter.

Q4 ‘22 $SPOT delivered great platform growth. We ended 2022 strongly despite a challenging year. Expect us to move faster with more intensity of effort, driving even greater efficiency in 2023. pic.twitter.com/rII7hHwRy1
— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) January 31, 2023

The company said the 2022 Spotify Wrapped campaign drew significantly higher engagement than the year prior: More than 150 million users across 111 markets engaged with the eighth annual campaign in Q4, up more than 30% year over year.

On the third-quarter earnings call in October, Ek said Spotify is looking at raising prices on its U.S. subscription plans, following increases by Apple Music and YouTube Premium. Spotify’s individual tier costs $9.99/month in the U.S. — a price point that hasn’t changed since it launched the service in 2011.

Ek on Tuesday noted that Spotify in 2022 raised prices in more than 40 markets but he added that he didn’t have any price increases to announce right now.

To Make File Sharing Easier, Google Makes 2 ‘Improvements’ to Meet: All You Need to Know

The updates began rolling out on January 25, and will take up to fifteen days to be visible, Google said.
HT News Desk

Google has made two ‘improvements’ to Google Meet to make file sharing in the video communication service, ‘even easier.’

The updates, which the tech giant announced on its Workspace Updates blog, began rolling out on January 25, and will take up to fifteen days to be visible.

(1.) Share content directly from Meet: The content you are presenting in a meeting, can be shared with the attendees, including those on the Calendar guest list, directly from Meet. For this, go to the floating action menu, or share it via the suggestion in chats.

When a file is shared, those present will see a notification, and the link to the file will be automatically sent in the chat.

(2.) Attach file to calendar event: When a user pastes a link in the chat, he/she is prompted with the file access dialog. With this, they can adjust access as needed, and attach the file to the calendar event, if required.

Why are these improvements important?

With these features, according to Google, users can seamlessly share the presented content, without the need to switch to another window to grant access, which, in turn, can be disruptive. This will also make it much easier for the attendees to follow your presentation.

Frontier’s Bringing its 5-Gig Fiber Network Across the Country

The plan is available in all regions serviced by Frontier networks and starts at $155 a month.
Alice Newcome-Beill

Frontier, an internet service provider (ISP) that services 25 US states, has just launched 5 Gig fiber internet service across its entire network. Frontier launched 2 Gig fiber internet service less than a year ago, and the 5 Gig plan is currently available in all of Frontier’s fiber-connected markets, with no phased rollouts.

Compared to the cable-bound internet that most of us are familiar with, Frontier’s 5 Gig internet is reported to have upload speeds that are up to 125 times faster and up to five times faster downloads, all delivered with less latency. The new 5 Gig network is one of the fastest internet options currently available in the US, with other fiber-enabled ISPs like Verizon Fios and Google Fiber still capped at around 2Gbps. Right now, the only other 5 Gig network currently available in the US is through AT&T, which offers 2 Gig and 5 Gig plans. Google Fiber is also slated to add 5-gig and 8-gig plans to its lineup sometime this year, despite its numerous setbacks.

The 5 Gig plan offered by Frontier starts at $154.99 per month, with the fee including a router and installation. This is roughly $55 more than the 2 Gig plans offered by Frontier and other ISPs; however, costs, availability, and promotions can vary from state to state. Even with a monthly price exceeding $150, 5-gig internet connectivity can be invaluable for networks responsible for a large number of devices and is still less expensive than AT&T’s 5Gbps plan, which starts at $179.99.

5-gig connection speeds are good, but only as long as you have the hardware to support it. Most Wi-Fi 6E devices, like the Google Nest Wifi Pro, are capable of handling 5Gbps throughput, but anyone planning to subscribe to Frontier’s new plan will want to check their specific hardware beforehand to get the most out of their investment.

Until next week,

- js.

Current Week In Review

Recent WiRs -

January 28th, January 21st, January 14th, January 7th

Jack Spratts' Week In Review is published every Friday. Submit letters, articles, press releases, comments, questions etc. in plain text English to jackspratts (at) lycos (dot) com. Submission deadlines are Thursdays @ 1400 UTC. Please include contact info. The right to publish all remarks is reserved.

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