Virgin Media has announced that it will be informing its residential customers by letter if their computers are infected by malware.
The move comes in response to the discovery that nearly a quarter of customers that use the Virgin Media Digital Home Support service are infected by malware, including viruses, Trojans and spyware, Virgin Media said on Monday.
"Obviously malware is quite a serious issue, in particular in the case of the Zeus Trojan customers have been losing money, so we thought, let's see what we can do about this in as non-invasive a way as possible," a Virgin Media spokesman told ZDNet UK on Monday. "Not monitoring our customers per-se but to find a way that we can take intelligence from the broader virus tracking community identifying IPs that are infected or part of a botnet."
Virgin is working with not-for-profit organisations, such as the Shadowserver foundation, to provide information on specific IP ranges that are found to be infected or part of a botnet.
Virgin Media will then inform the infected customer by way of a letter, detailing free ways to scan for and remove computer viruses. The letter will also market Virgin's chargeable Digital Home Support service that promises to remove viruses and aid computer problems remotely.
Having an antivirus product on-board is not protection enough for many home users, according to the Virgin Media spokesman.
"Many of our customers are using the free antivirus we provide or are using third-party antivirus that came with their computer but they've not realised that they've expired or they're not updating properly...what we're trying to do is capture those people that misleadingly [sic] think that they are protected, but they are obviously not, in this instance," the spokesman said.
Once compromised, computers are often used by the perpetrators as part of a larger botnet without the owners' knowledge or consent. Recently, the command-and-control centre of the Zeus banking Trojan was penetrated, revealing that it had netted its owners £675,000 and was comprised of nearly 37,000 British computers.
TalkTalk was recently criticised by customers for not informing them that it was tracking their browsing habits.