I switched internet providers from AT&T DSL to Comcast cable a few weeks ago. In a test at speedtest.net, I went from 2.73/0.43 Mb/s to 25.43/3.67 Mb/s. Boy what a difference. It’s like comparing a bicycle to a car traveling on the freeway.
Since then, I got an e-mail from Comcast Customer Central with the subject “Constant Guard Alert” which began, “Constant Guard from XFINITY identified one or more of your computers may be infected with a bot. . .” I’m very careful with my computers and had trouble believing any of them were infected but anything’s possible. The e-mail recommended I visit XFINITY.com/BotAssistance for information on removing malicious software from my computers.
They’ll be happy to take your money to fix the (potential) problem for you or they give you steps to take to do it yourself. The steps are:
- Check for Operating System Updates
- Check Your Security Software
- Specialized Malware Removal Tools for Windows – http://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/malware-removal.aspx
- Add Advanced Software Protection – Immunet Protect and Secunia
Number one is always a good idea. Windows comes out with security patches on “Patch Tuesday” which is the second Tuesday of each month. They’ll release a security fix at additional times if needed. Windows Defender updates come much more frequently.
Number two is a good idea as well. I run an antivirus program on my Windows machines that connect to the internet. I’ve primarily used Avast! and it has warned me about a few websites I’ve visited that it deemed dangerous. Comcast offers Norton Security Suite for free to its customers. Norton anti-virus products have slowed down systems I’ve used in the past so I’m not inclined to install it.
Number three provides links to scan your system with Microsoft Safety Scanner as well as a link to remove malicious software.
Comcast does note at the bottom of step four that it does not endorse nor support those products. At least it gives you more options to find potential problems if you think you have a problem.
I didn’t try the products in step four but I did run the scanner in step three. It didn’t find anything on either computer. I then looked the subject up on the web and found many people got the same e-mail but no one seems to have found a bot. I guess it seems to be a false positive with Comcast’s scanner or perhaps it’s their way to get people to be more security conscious.