Comcast soon will be stalking "bots" -- a class of Internet virus designed to hijack computers -- across the entire country.
Under the MSO's "Constant Guard Bot Detection and Notification" program, Comcast will e-mail customers or notify them through a Web browser alert if it has reason to believe a computer behind their cable modem is infected with a bot. The MSO also will provide instructions on how to remove the malicious software. A bot is a type of virus designed to let a hacker take over a PC to send spam, host a phishing site or steal someone's identity by monitoring keystrokes.
The MSO launched the bot-detection service in Denver in October 2009. Comcast said the program, available to customers for no extra charge, will be gradually rolled out nationwide.
Among other security measures, Comcast lets broadband customers install Norton Security software on up to seven PCs for no additional charge.
"Internet users need to be aware of online threats -- bots being among the most serious -- and Comcast's Constant Guard Bot Detection and Notification service is designed to help protect and educate our customers about this growing danger," Cathy Avgiris, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of communications and data services, said in announcing the expansion.
In a prepared statement, National Association of Attorneys General president and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said, "I encourage proactive efforts by Internet service providers to help educate and protect consumers from Internet crimes like malicious bots. It is important for business and government to work together to keep Internet users safe."
Comcast noted that October is "National Cyber Security Awareness" month. More information about the Constant Guard Security Program -- including an example of Comcast's bot-infection notification to customers -- is available at http://security.comcast.net/constantguard.
As of the end of June, Comcast had about 16.4 million broadband customers, making it the biggest provider of high-speed wireline Internet service in the U.S.