PHILADELPHIA — Comcast Corp. wants to enlist its customers in a fight against a huge problem for Internet providers – the armies of infected personal computers, known as "botnets," that suck up bandwidth by sending spam and facilitating cybercrime.
The country's largest provider of high-speed Internet to homes started testing a service this week in Denver in which Comcast sends customers a pop-up message in their Web browsers if their computers seem to have been co-opted by a botnet. One botnet can have tens of thousands or even millions of PCs.
The message points to a Comcast site with tips for cleaning infected computers. It reads: "Comcast has detected that there may be a virus on your computer(s). For information on how to clean your computer(s), please visit the Comcast Anti-Virus Center."
Comcast said users can close the warning banners if they wish, but they cannot opt out of receiving them. A reminder will return every seven days while a computer appears to be infected.
The program, which Comcast hopes to roll out nationally, is one of the most aggressive moves yet by a major Internet provider to curb what's become a scourge on the Internet.