The annual RSA Conference, where I had the opportunity to speak yesterday, always provides a good opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made on cybersecurity over the past year and to look toward the work that lies ahead to ensure that our network infrastructure and, more importantly, our customers, are protected from existing and emerging threats.
At Comcast, we understand that effective cybersecurity begins with individual users. That’s why we’ve devoted so much time and so many resources to developing industry-leading tools and practices that help protect our customers from online threats. And as we move toward completing our transaction with Time Warner Cable, we’re excited for the opportunity to extend those tools, and the industry-leading protection they provide, to millions of customers who don’t currently have access to many of the advanced cybersecurity capabilities and features provided by Comcast.
Our consumer cybersecurity experience begins with Constant Guard, an advanced group of security technologies – generally available at no additional cost to Xfinity customers – that works across platforms to safeguard users against various forms of malware, as well as widespread threats like phishing (a type of online fraud in which criminals pose as legitimate businesses like banks or insurers) and key logging (a form of tracking that can be used to steal passwords and account information). Constant Guard includes free Norton security software, as well as unique bot detection tools and a dedicated team of professionals that focuses solely on customer security.
Our main goal with all of the security tools we provide is to stop attacks before they happen by helping our customers avoid known threats. But as an added layer of defense, our customized, best-in-class incident-response platform also alerts us when our customers are compromised by malware. Developing this detection capability has greatly reduced our response time, allowing us to address in a matter of hours threats that might have otherwise gone undetected for months or even years.
To protect users from being snared by botnets (groups of computers infected with malware that are used by hackers to launch cyber attacks), Constant Guard delivers real-time browser alerts that warn customers if their modems inadvertently communicate with a known "command and control" bots. As an additional layer of defense, we also created the "Bot Detection" tool, which allows Constant Guard users to instantly determine whether they are infected as part of a botnet.
While the protections afforded by our incident response platform are available only to Comcast customers today, we intend to extend them to TWC customers following completion of our transaction.
Over the past year, we’ve also been working to upgrade the privacy and security of our customers’ e-mail accounts, by deploying encryption technology throughout our email platform. We recently completed the critical step of encrypting our Xfinity Connect webmail portal using Transport Layer Security (TLS).
That step capped a yearlong effort in which we encrypted outbound and inbound mail, and upgraded our mobile email app to support encryption. Taken together, these steps ensure that we are encrypting our customers’ e-mail messages whenever possible as they pass through and outside of our system.
Comcast has also been an industry leader in deploying IPv6 and DNNSEC, two technologies that support more secure and stable Internet communication.
In 2014, we reached the milestone of supporting IPv6 – which helps to create a more secure Internet experience by providing better support for encryption and more secure resolution of Web addresses – throughout 100 percent of our broadband network. The year before, Xfinity Internet was recognized as the world’s largest IPv6 deployment. And in 2012, Comcast became the first major ISP in North America to fully implement DNSSEC, a technology that helps protect users against dangerous "man-in-the-middle" attacks.
Our transaction with TWC will accelerate the deployment of cutting-edge security tools and technologies throughout TWC’s network, allowing millions of additional users to enjoy a more secure online experience. The transaction will also offer current TWC customers access to assistance from Comcast’s specialized customer security assurance group, which provides enhanced customer service support. Moreover, the transaction will extend the benefits of Comcast’s enhanced intelligence gathering and deterrence capabilities, including its incident-monitoring infrastructure, to the TWC network.
No security technology is perfect. The threat landscape changes almost daily, and providers must continuously evolve their tools and infrastructure to respond to new challenges. We know that meeting those challenges requires a holistic, companywide commitment to security. We’re proud of the work we’ve done toward demonstrating that commitment and excited to meet the challenge of making the combined Comcast and TWC network even more secure.