Cable Provider Issues Bad Bot Alerts
Comcast Corporation announced it has expanded its online security program for subscribers to the company's high speed Internet service to include "bot" alerts if suspicious activity has been detected on a customer's computer.
Malicious bots are small programs designed to send spam, host a phishing site, or steal a user's identity by recording each keystroke in the hopes of capturing passwords and other sensitive information.
The programs are installed on the user's computer without his knowledge and may be picked up from opening an attachment or running a file that secretly installs the bot under the guise of running a game, looking at a picture or some other apparently benign activity.
Information Security Center at Georgia Tech estimates the number of bot-infected computers to be in the tens to hundreds of millions.
Comcast collects a list of Internet Protocol addresses that are infected and those that belong to bot command and control channels. The company also looks for malicious behavior exhibited by bots such as spam , distributed denial of service attacks and repeated connections requests to known command and control channels. If a customer's computer is associated with this information, Comcast sends an email alert.
The alert directs the customer to the Comcast security site where do-it-yourself tools are provided to find and remove the offending software. Most tools are free to anyone on the Internet, and Comcast offers Norton Security Suite software at no charge to its customers. Alternately, customers can opt to have an expert from NortonLive remotely remove the malware for $100.
Free security tools recommended on Comcast site:
- Malicious Software Removal Tool from Microsoft
- Secunia that checks you are running the most up-to-date versions of common applications. If not, the program will take you through the process of updating them. New versions often plug security holes found in previous versions.
- Immunet Protect is a free protection against malware and spyware threats.
- 10 Things You Must Know About Malware
- The Accidental Spammer
- How to Tell If Your Child's Identity Has Been Stolen