Dear @comcastcares Please Explain XFinity Bot Scare Tactics

July 14, 2011

in general, Spam

What does Comcast expect me to do? Why do they keep emailing (about once a week) me these messages (see below)? They are useless. They don’t tell me the time of the detection, what they detected, or anything useful. So I panic…. (well no I don’t.). After reading it I click the link… and I will show you what I get after following the MacOS link. Email first.

Comcast Customer Security Assurance Notice

Dear Comcast Customer,

Your immediate attention is required. Constant Guard(TM) has identified that one or more of your computers may be infected with a “Bot”.

We strongly recommend that you visit the Comcast Constant Guard Center at https://constantguard.comcast.net/email  for important information on how to remove malicious software from your computer(s).

A “Bot” is a malicious software or malware that is used to gain control over your computer, typically without your knowledge. Online criminals can use Bots to collect your personal and private data, such as Social Security numbers, bank account information and credit card numbers by monitoring your keystrokes. This can lead to identity theft and fraud.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this important online security notice.

Sincerely,

Comcast Customer Security Assurance

This is a service-related email. Comcast will occasionally send you service-related emails to inform you of service upgrades or new benefits to your Comcast High-Speed Internet service.

Copyright 2011. Comcast. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

Comcast respects your privacy. For a complete description of our privacy policy, go to http://www.comcast.net/privacy.

Comcast
One Comcast Center, 10th Floor
1701 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838
Attn: CHSI

So I get this info….You are directed to Comcast Security Guard Central. I then look at the money option or the DoitYourself. I choose DoitYourself. But first I’ve read…

If you received a notice from Comcast or believe that you are infected with a “bot”, it is important you take action now! A bot is a malicious form of software (Malware) that could use your computer to send spam, host a phishing site or steal your identity by monitoring your keystrokes.

Now what? Should I be scared? They say do it yourself! I choose the MacOS option. This is what you get…

It says… “Making sure your computer has the latest version of the Apple Operating System (OS) is an important first step to be fully protected. If you haven’t updated your computer OS in a while, you may want to consider doing this now.”

I can tell you my MacOS is up to date. There is no other computer currently live on my network  (the iPad and the Phones may be accessing the net via my router over WiFi) and there are no Windows machines in the house.

So what is this crap? Is it an upsell? Have you outsourced a fear factor to harass me and others? Do I have anything to be afraid of?

Perhaps this isn’t an email from Comcast at all? If so.. then you are being very slow to fix it Comcast!

 

  • Jeff

    Me too. WTF?

  • http://www.liquidrhymes.com/ Simon

    I got one of these today (rather, a phone call from Comcast), and had the same reaction you did: what the heck am I supposed to do with this?

    Why don’t they tell us what they detected and let me use that information to track this down? Completely ridiculous.

  • Acacia Daniels

    I just got a voicemail message with that same alert! After going to the website, it really looks like a sales pitch. Did you find out anything else? I certainly am not going to put Norton on my Mac.

  • CS

    Found your post through Google. I get these emails from Comcast every week, and am sick of them.

    I clicked around on their ‘bot’ page today and came to conclusion that it’s a marketing scam — should be illegal.

    I also have a Mac, have the latest OS, and am not going to pay for the security services that Xfinity is pushing with these scary, ridiculous emails.

  • http://www.henshall.com Stuart

    Yes, I continue to get the same emails and it certainly feels like a marketing scam. I’m still not sure what created my “you may have a bot” warning but after doing a complete reinstall with OSX Lion I no longer am getting those notifications. I suspect it was related to a Firefox plug-in and I’m no longer using Firefox. Their suggestions to put Norton on the Mac are a total waste of time. So I really have no idea… what the “bot” / infected notification referred to. I just know I’m no longer getting them.

    The net net on this marketing policy is…. you end up disliking Comcast more and trust them less. That’s not a winning solution.

  • Andy

    Stuart got me thinking… I just received the same “bot” email (followed by a 1.800 call the next day) from Comcast. I must say, as a marketer I was impressed with the coordination of their online/offline communications. However, after reaching step 2 of their 4 step DIY online solution – the step where you need to purchase Constant Guard™ Protection Suite if you ever want to see your family photos again – I started thinking about switching to Verizon FioS. From what I can tell, Comcast detected a “surge” in activity via my modem that set off a wave of “the end is near” communications designed to make me poop my pants (mission accomplished). Interestingly, the “surge” they detected coincided with an automatic Firefox plug-in update that occurred the night before. Even if their intentions were legitimate, Xfinity’s predatory tactics were “malicious.”

  • chris

    I’m getting the same voicemails about bots too. All 4 people on my network have macs. What gives?

    Do people even get bots on macs?

  • Michele

    Ignore all the marketing and continue to the microsoft bot center and download the definitions. I did a full search, took forever, and sure enough, it found the bot. http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx Good Luck!

  • Ali

    has anyone figured out how to unsubscribe from this _helpful_ service? it’s quite annoying, especially the voicemails.

  • Joel

    I received the phone call last night. Went to their site and did some google searches. I too am on a mac and just installed lion 2 days ago. I also had an email on comcastmail from about 2 days ago. Still kind of curious but feel it is marketing as well.

  • Martin Brown

    I have received two of these e-mails, but no phone calls yet. In the course of tracking down why some of my e-mails were flagged as spam (by my own server), I ran across a comment that Comcast expects all e-mail to go through their mail server. I’m guessing that is what triggered their stupid e-mails. I was routing some directly through servers on the systems to which they were going. There is certainly not enough volume to be considered suspicious, probably 3 or 4 a week. Anyway, I have changed to sending everything to Comcast. I’ll see if I get any further complaints from them.

  • ed

    Yes they are scaring my 70 year old mother with this scam every month it seems.
    We should sue Comcast.

  • Martin Brown

    I got another one. Unless and until Comcast provides some actual information I will treat these notes as the spam they are.

  • No Bots

    I maintain a large number of servers for clients and Comcast subscribers are inundated with bots on their computers. For the past four months the vast majority of comment spam, email harvesters, bad bots and RFI attacks etc are coming from comcast subscribers.

    So yes, more than likely you DO HAVE something on your computers and a central bot-master is using your zombie computers to attack/spam others. Take it up with comcast – ask them why so many of their subscribers are having their computers hijacked.

  • Thorzdad

    I’ve been getting the emails for several months. Also running an all-Mac home network. I have a whistle-clean network, and can prove it. In any case, there are no bots that run on Macs.

    The lack of any actual information from Comcast as to what/when they detected is especially frustrating and, in the end, damning. To me, the fact they refuse to share any pertinent information flags the emails as spam. Marketing gone off the rails.

    They’ve recently started sending the scare email to ALL of the email addresses on my family’s Comcast account, not just the Primary account. That’s really scummy.

    I’ve not gotten a phone call from Comcast. It’s a good thing, too. They’d get a real blistering earful.

  • David Chesler

    Got that dire warning, one for each sub-account I have on Comcast. Most of those are for web pages I haven’t updated in years — they have no computer associated with them. I’m not seeing any strange returned undeliverable mail. I followed the link (starting from the Comcast homepage — wasn’t sure if this was phishing or not) and passed on Norton since I run avast, but I went to the Microsoft removal tool. I ran that and it found nothing but a virtual desktop I’d used with someone some time ago.
    So I vote for “It’s legitimately from Comcast, but it’s an ad.”

  • Chris Martin

    Reading through these message each of us has moved throught the states of “thank you Comcast” for the info (then we’ve scanned our machines, finding nothing – several times), to “can you help me Comcast” by telling me what exactly it was that triggered this notification (still somewhat naive and hoping the fact is Comcast may be honestly trying to help) and getting nothing satisfying in return, to “Up Yours Comcast”, get off my line and oh by the way, reimburse me for the lost time you’ve cause me with these intrusive false notifications clearly targeted at creating a fear response and selling me something I don’t need.

  • Gonzales

    i work for comcast and we send this messages to the custumers because they are getting haked remember that thats just a benefit and you must be checking ul your computer because they maybe haking all your info ;)

  • Jason

    It would seem that Con-Cast is following the lead of many credit card companies with “account protection”. “It’s a bigger scary world, but we’ll protect you for a nomial fee.”

    What I can’t understand is that I am already paying for a service, which includes my email. Now they are spamming my email. WTH?

  • The big “R”

    Well I’ve had enough of the scare tactics!!! Seeya Comcast and hello Frontier, besides all the bot crap the Comcast equipment is not worth a crap and slows down(big time) around 4:00 P.M. on weekdays, and is slow on the weekends as well! So Frontier here me and my dollar come.

  • George Umino

    I’ve been receiving both email and message insertion which states that my computer is infected with bot. On multiple occasions, I’ve followed the message insertion which suggested that I should install their scanning software. I did, and ended up losing 2 of my installed software. I can reinstall them so there’s no problem but it also corrupted my system fonts which I have not been able to narrow down yet. I’m using 3 different spyware detecting software and none of them come up with infection.

    My biggest problem is that the message insertion happens on my TV program recording which corrupt the wmv files. I lost 7 of my 8 scheduled recordings today. Over the last month, I ‘ve lost 100s of recordings. On multiple occasions my ftp ended with CRC error and had to redo them over and over. I suppose my scheduled recording is like a robot which records while I’m sleeping but it is not what is considered a bot . I’ve written several times to Comcast support asking them not to insert messages in the data stream but they are not going to stop it. It’s hard to believe that ISP would purposely insert service message right into the users’ data stream and claims that they won’t stop doing it because it’s necessary. Obviously my options are limited.

  • Johnny5k

    Looks like they’re still at it. June 8 2012 and I just got the bot scare-mail. I’m running a virus scanner and malware scanner and both say I’m clean, which made me think it was a bit fishy, and apparently I’m not the only one. Luckily I’m not afraid of computers so I know what to check – I can imagine a LOT of people freaking out and doing whatever Comcast tells them to after getting a message like that. Exactly what Comcast is hoping, I’m sure.

  • Kieran

    I just started getting these popups about a week ago. Other than caving in to this stupid program, is there ANYTHING i can do to make them stop? I can’t use the internet with this constant popup.

  • Robert Martinez

    Hello,it’s incredible that this crap from comcast is going on for so long,this is scareware tactics which are illegal,people have to come together and place a law suit ,as a group it would be more effective,even if comcast denies is doing this ,it would be found out with the proper tracing or tracking sofware.

    good luck

  • Robert Martinez

    it is very suspicious that this “Xfinty constant guard ” appears only on comcast customers.other ISPs don’t show this criminal activity.

    let us keep the denouncing going on

  • Don Parker

    Well folks, it’s December 2012 and I have started getting the same email referenced above by others. I found this thread in pursuit of a resolution and have come to the same conclusion–Comcast has created a problem that they can charge a fee to fix. Sounds strikingly like mob ‘protection’ to me.

    Like others posting here, I’d like to bill Comcast for the hours of time I’ve spent dealing with their warning that contains little-to-nothing in the way of assistance or guidance. Comcast FAIL.

  • Beth

    I know exactly whats setting it off. as I have checked every system on our network for bots. The only time i get that letter is when I have used torrent software. They are saying its a bot to try and ban torrent users.

  • werewatchinu

    Got the same e-mail & immediately ran my Malwarebytes anti-malware program.
    I have thr paid version which scans my computer in real time 24/7 & blocks me from entering malicious websites while surfing the net. Nothing was detected on my computer. Note: the e-mail said my computer MAY BE INFECTED NOT IS INFECTED. Just a marketing ploy to install their scanning software!!

  • Robert Martinez

    Hello on my first coment on this pest, I received a reply from Stuart Henshall, explaining that this was not “scareware”,well I agree,but it’s very similar,
    they don’t take my pc hostage ’till I buy the program, but they block you with that odious Xfinity popup every time you go online, so you have to drag it to the side to type on your searcher,(google or any other)and also on your e-mail,to me those are scare tactics,anoying you untill you buy the product, ponder on it, happy new year

  • http://patrickineugene Patrick J. Sheehan

    I have Comcast internet and have received a number of emails describing a torrent file they say I downloaded. I scanned my computer for such a file and found none. I searched for the file they were using to spy on my searches, downloads, ect and found C:/checksum.eri/keylogger. I deleted it and no more emails since.

    Its my business what I do! I do not download illegal crap nor do I have any free or torrent files on my computer. It can’t be a marketing ploy because I have every security product they sell. I also run Bit Defender. They also find such programs and files. They don’t threaten to discontinue service or worse.

  • Marymac

    I have been getting this same message from comcast really often sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. I ran that Microsoft Malware Removal tool, which by the way takes 4-5 hours to run at least 6 times or more and every time it has been clean. It hasn’t found a thing, I keep my antivirus up to date I scan with MSE quick scan everyday and do a full scan each week. The same with Super anti spyware software. Always nothing but some cookies. This to me seems like they are doing scare tactics for sure. It bugs ya to death when you try to go online and that darn popup comes over the whole screen. I have had no notifications about any problems in my emails either, usually of it is hacked you hear from your friends & family. They haven’t called me as yet , but I still get the emails and a lot of that popup.

  • Julie M

    I started getting this in e-mail format only. I ignored it for a while, then finally gave in to see what it was they wanted me to do. Everything I did found nothing. Of course they also have a professional there to help who will fix it, for a fee. No thanks.

    I ran proven malware and virus programs and did full scans on all computers. All clean. I just delete the messages now. One click and it’s gone. I’m going to check out Frontier, now that I saw it mentioned here.

  • Stacey Parody

    Hello we can’t believe this has been going on for this long! For the love of god no one knows how to get this pop-up off the screen? It does not discriminate either, any device we log on to our home comcast net it pops up on iphones, ipads, galaxyS 3′s it’s crazy and when will it end? Im ready to stick a boot in someone at comcasts backside! We also were the lucky recipient’s of them sliding in google chrome under the radar with it, and when we try to uninstall it crashes the computer. I was however able to uninstal the pesky Constant guard protection suite thank goodness. Dear lord if anyone has any remedy to remove the comcast pop-up please share. We would be forever grateful!

  • Not a happy customer

    Over four hours today trying to get this straightened out. They had me calling
    Norton, Xfinity, and Constant Guard. This is nothing but to sell you a
    contract for security services for $19.99 a month. What is Norton
    for? I called Norton and they said to call Comcast, I called Comcast
    (6x’s) and they said to call Constant whatever. I now have someone that
    will try to clear this up. All constant Guard wants to do is to sell you
    a program. The email is vicious and invading my privacy.

    I finally asked for a supervisor…..they tried to sell me
    more premium programs. What a rip
    off. I am now on hold for security to
    stop the emails.

    What a rip off! After waiting 10 minutes….I was disconnected

  • Michael Norcia

    I’ve been a Comcast/Infinity customer for >10years, using them for both cable and internet. I replaced a 7 year old desk top running WindowsXP in Aug’13, and from then on I’ve been getting the incredibly annoying pop-ups about a potential bot infection. Near daily, for over a month, I’ve been updating/running Norton Internet Security, Norton Power Eraser, Malwarebytes Anti-malware, Microsoft Malicious Malware Removal Tool, and Microsoft Safety Scanner (i.e., 5 malware tools!) Nothing is ever found (but tracking cookies), and the pop-up does NOT go away. Is it coincidence that receiving the bot alerts only only occurred after replacing my old pc with a new one? I also have a laptop (about 4 years old), which now also receives bot alerts, but only since the new desktop joined the family net work. Similar to the experiences of others, calls to Norton and Comcast/Xfinity were a waste of time. Please share solutions if you have them.

  • Lou

    I no longer keep a damn thing on my computer. I got this message also, no worries just reformat the hard drive…lasts about 2 weeks until they install their spy crap again. I don’t try to fix anything I just format my hard drive and go from there.

  • Ryan

    still going on. Comcast and their fat lazy piggish monopoly has not been compelled to change and so has actually gotten worse. They are the worst company in America voted by Americans 3 years in a row for a reason, yet they dance on merrily along in their stupid direction ignoring all as the money keeps pouring in with ridiculous prices. The rest of the world has readily available affordable broadband access but not the USA. So sad. Comcast needs and deserves an As* kicking by customers who need to turn away from them en masse – but americans won’t do what is necessary so this is what you will get more terrible service at higher and higher prices and a company that doesn’t mind bullying their customers and spying on them.

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