Comcast has decided to take their Constant Guard Security program nationwide since it has proven very effective in limited release.

The concept behind Constant Guard was unveiled in October 2009 and has three key elements:

1. People: it all begins with highly skilled professionals in Customer Security Assurance (CSA) who proactively reach out to customers to deal with issues having to do with bots, spam, or virus infected PCs (to name just a few of the many security issues they help manage).

2. Tech: We’ve talked about the McAfee Internet Security Suite here before, but it warrants repeating. Our high-speed Internet customers can download this suite to their computers for free. They can also get the Comcast Toolbar which includes spyware detection and removal as well as a pop-up ad blocker with built-in anti-phishing software. And starting today in Denver, CO, we are testing a new "Service Notice" customer alert that lets people know if we have reason to believe their home computer has been infected with a bot. The Service Notice is sent to appear in their Web browser with a direct link to our Anti-Virus Center where they can diagnose the problem and take steps to fix it.

3. Education: A wise man once said, "Knowing is half the battle," Security Channel on is a great resource for all things security related.

Well it proved to be such a success in limited release that Comcast announced on 01 October 2010 that they were taking it to all of their customers.

As the nation’s largest ISP, we’re doing our part to detect bots and notify customers who we believe may have a computer that is being controlled by one. Last year, we launched an automatic bot detection and notification trial in Denver. During the trial, customers with computers that appeared to be infected with bots received a notification informing them of the potential bot infection and links to resources they could use to check and remove the bot.

Response to the trial was very positive and today we are beginning to roll-out the bot notification and detection service nationally on a market-by-market basis.

As we enter a market, customers will receive an e-mail announcement letting them know the Constant Guard service is now available in their area. Bot notifications will be first sent by e-mail. Once we are rolled out to all markets, we will add on an in-browser Service Notification, which makes it quick and easy to take action.

I am glad to see this going to such a broad audience and I think other ISP’s need to adopt this type of a proactive approach to detecting and dealing with bots and other infections.

It also looks like this has prompted the FCC to get ISP’s to do more as well – FCC May Confront ISPs on Bot, Malware Scourge.

The more opportunities end users have to deal with this stuff the more of it we can eliminate.