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Virgin Media launch malware protection campaign
Monday 16 August 2010 17:55:16 by John Hunt

Virgin Media have announced a new campaign to help protect their users from malware. The free trial service will help customers avoid infection through a process of educating users. The Virgin Media Internet Security team will be sending a letter in the post to customers whose computers are reported as being infected which will detail free options to scan and remove viruses. They will also provide contact details for Virgin Media's Digital Home Support team which can provide a complete virus removal service using remote control technology.

"Malware doesn't just affect computers – it can affect lives. It's time for ISPs to go beyond the basics and do whatever they can to help protect their customers from this growing problem. Customers may think they are protected, but with the ease by which malware can infect a computer – even just by visiting a innocent-looking website – we're going to do whatever we can to help defend our customers from serious consequences such as identity theft, and even banking fraud.

We're writing to customers we've been told may be infected by malware, encouraging them to check their computers have an up to date security package, such as Virgin Media Security, and offering advice on simple and free ways to disinfect their computer. For those who need a little bit more help we also have our fee-based Digital Home Support service which fixes problems using the latest cutting edge remote control technology."

Jon James, (Executive Director of Broadband) Virgin Media

This move by Virgin follows a TalkTalk announcement last month about a new system to monitor its users as they browse the web to help protect them from malware and malicious websites. ISPreview have today published some answers to questions which they put to TalkTalk which mainly focus on the security concerns of the system storing or logging data.


Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
Microsoft should be doing more to protect their customers, not ISP's.

I wonder what will happen when they send these letters to Mac or Linux users...
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
And how are they going to get remote access going ? Most users can barely switch on their computer, let alone rummage around in System trying to find the correct option. And if they give a website address, what's to stop the site being hijacked ?
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
When did Metronet introduce their infested-customer walled garden? Their ISP-based easily-configured firewall? Their proxy-based content filter and ad blocker which could trivially be adjusted to be a "dodgy site" filter too?

Why did it take a tiny ISP like Metronet to do this? Why can't it be done by the big boys with their big budgets and carp products and matching customer service? What innovations do we get from them? DPI and Phorm?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Totally agree with MrTAToad2 on every point made. In addition....... Even if you do allow remote access to your system that can be a security risk in itself. What has Virgin been smoking i wonder!
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
Good point there - there could also be legal issues involved too (with potential for blackmail too), if the person accessing a persons computer sees something private/illegal/compromising...
Posted by sidbarker over 7 years ago
How about a three strikes policy when it comes to infected machines? Probably more of a commercial loss to the ISP than piracy of music, movies, etc.
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 7 years ago
I dont think that would work very well.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
@sidbaker A 3 strikes rule is a stupid for mailware. Malware while it can be things like trojans and worms can also be software that only affects your computer and not a ISPs network or other users, something as simple as intrussive and dishonest adware falls under the malware heading, and while that may screw up your machine it doesnt normally attack others by itself or the network. Its also possible some protection apps would classify it as adware and some wouldnt.
@ MrTAToad2 good point about potential dishonest employees.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
Using Microsoft products is like crossing a busy road, look before you cross or die.

Using linux is like crossing a dirt road on a Siberian farm.
Posted by tommy45 over 7 years ago
They want remote access ? lol not a chance of any isp or corporate company gaining access to my pc, maybe they should rename to 'private computer', mind you 'personal' should be clear enough,lol
Posted by Notarealname over 7 years ago
Ah. If I recall correctly, the Vermin Media Digital Home Suport was promoted in a series of popup adverts - you know, the same kind of thing beloved of malware vendors and about which people less technicaly inclined might contact someone offering a professional version of Digital Home Suport.

If I further recall correctly, the popups were pushed by Grisoft through their AVG product which was, I believe, a tool for protecting against malware - viruses, trojans, etc.

It comes to a pretty pass when large-name companies foolow the parasites and start down the malware path themselves.
Posted by pengipete over 7 years ago
"We're writing to customers we've been told may be infected by malware"

Told by who, precisely?

Either VM has been scanning customers' PC's or someone else has and simultaneously collected personal information and passed it on to VM.

The obvious answer is that the information came from whichever provider VM use for their "free" security software.

If I were a VM customer I'd be double-checking both VM's and the software providers' EULAs and privacy policies.

Can ThinkBroadband find out who passed the list of names on to VM? I'd like to know which company can't be trusted.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
"VM has been scanning customers' PC's"

Maybe, if punters have been allowing a Virgin-supplied scanner onto the PC. I wouldn't, you probably wouldn't, but...

On the other hand, lots of malware attempts to connect to the outside world for whatever reason, and the ISP can see those connection attempts and react accordingly without having any need to know what's on the end user system(s).

Decent ISP's Ts+Cs have a clause in wrt end users not adversely affecting other users of the network. Perhaps this ISP is enforcing their Ts+Cs (and about time too).
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
ISP's should be doing more to stop these at source. They don't originate on customer PC's they originate on servers/PC's that are trying meaningfully to infect others, ISP's should do more to block comms from devices that are on the IP Blacklists.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Well said GMAN99, if they dont want Malware on their network do more to prevent it getting on users machines in the first place. Dont blame users for your own networks sloppy security.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
If PC software had been properly designed in the first place malware, viruses etc. would not exist. The cost to all the users in the world must be huge.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
I'll admit Somerset that some software is just lousy, but if you ever read up on the world of Rookits etc you'll see just how much of a challenge it is to stop, these are very very clever exploits
Posted by New_Londoner over 7 years ago
@GMan "Rookits"
Presumably you could beat them back with Pooh Sticks. ;-)
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
I went on a security course a few years back that was run by a White Hat Hacker, opened my eyes to all sorts, he suggested buying a particular book on Rootkits (oops spelling above ^ lol) for reference. I wish I hadn't bothered... very worrying.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
What other operating systems have these sorts of problems?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
All operating systems can suffer at the hands of malware somerset. Malware doesnt have to target the OS used but can be browser or similar specific. Last time i checked be you a windows box, Linux or Apple its possible to use the same 2nd most popular browser in the world on all those platforms. And thats a little program made by Mozilla ;) which has in the past suffered with Malware due to the amount of plugins that little app has, its also why its regularly updated with new versions and security threats are solved. ;)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Malware can also be delivered via something as simple as malicious java code and scripting, and even if that doesnt affect your OS or computer directly it can be code which will seek out other machines/users and spread. So OS is pretty irrelevant today, malicious code can reck havoc on all systems.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
PDF's can also contain nasties even Youtube videos apparently, its not just a Windows problem either as CB says, they target the mostly widely used platforms and software for maximum impact.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
100% correct GMAN99... Infact PDF exploits recently were floating around in large numbers.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Long gone are the days where you were safe as long as you stayed away from "dodgy sites", the stuff they do these days are just so clever, but.. they all originate somewhere so the closer to the source they are stopped the better
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Yep GMAN99, also with the rise of "the cloud" and more and more people storing and using stuff directly online rather than locally allows for naughty people to exploit someone even more easily. Blaming individual users or the OS they use really is not an excuse anymore. Heck even just visiting 100% legit sites you get silly tracking cookies, which a nasty person could exploit.
Posted by sylvantos over 7 years ago
It is sure is microsoft's problem. Since viruses, trojans whatever are targeted at the MS OS, then it's time MS got it's act together and protected it's users of it's oses. . How do you work out this is an ISP issue exactly?
VM have been invading people's privacy since 2007 when they launched their pretend anti virus we want to spy on you software. VM are pretty well known for the insidious ads they spam on people, including popup and pop under ads.
I am looking forward to the day they send me a letter. To court we'll go and win I will.
Posted by Wikkus over 7 years ago
There's some genuine lack of understanding of the underlying technologies judging by some of the comments here; never mind, the school holidays will be over soon, eh, lads?

Personally and as a VM customer, I have no issue at all with what they're proposing -- good on them -- the truly clueless nabs will learn something and maybe be a bit safer, whilst the self-proclaimed experts and forum trolls will ignore it and go on whining that it's someone else's fault when they get whacked.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
This "self-proclaimed expert" has the sense not to allow any authorised remote sharing of my data to anyone or organisation i do not know. People that do that are often the ones that get infected with something in the first place.
@ sylvantos All operating systems have specific threats, you just hear more about MS because thats a bigger target as 90% of the worlds PCs run that software its easier to target billions of users rather than a few thousands.
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