I had the opportunity to participate in two milestone events earlier this month in Michigan, both focused on security and privacy on the Internet. The Michigan Cyber Summit 2011 was selected as the launch site to kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Summit featured an impressive round up of experts who touched on all aspects of using the Internet safely.

The speakers included keynote addresses from the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President Howard Schmidt. Both spoke at length on how the use of the Internet has changed significantly in all our daily lives and that all users of the Internet, from individuals in the home and small business to large commercial and municipal users on a national and international scale, need to actively engage in adopting processes and web tools to reduce vulnerability from cyber threats.

The State of Michigan, in coordination with Homeland Security, also announced the Michigan Cyber Initiative, which offered some great tips that all Internet users should look to adopt:

  • Prevention -Take steps to keep a cyber threat from affecting you and educate yourself on safe Internet practices.

  • Early Detection and Rapid Response - If you experience some form of cyber concern, the best way to minimize any consequences is to address the issue in its early stages.

  • Control, Management and Restoration - By actively addressing a potential cyber threat, Internet users are more likely to return to normal operations swiftly and with peace of mind that the proper security safeguards are in place.

Our recipe to help High Speed customers prevent, detect, respond and manage a cyber threat is Comcast's Constant Guardâ„¢, which I talked about at the Summit. I had been asked to offer suggestions on what could be done to help engage the public more in participating in safe Internet practices. The two key areas I mentioned were education and proactive Bot notification.

The more you know about online security, the better prepared you will be to recognize and repel a cyber threat. We offer a variety of resources at xfinity.com/constantguard. One in particular is a partnership with iKeepSafe, which emphasizes safe technology and Internet use for families and educators.

Those outside the tech circles may not have heard of a Bot, but I can tell you that our customers are pleased with the proactive Bot notification that is part of the Constant Guard service. A Bot is a malicious form of software that could use your computer to send spam, host a phishing site or steal your identity by monitoring your keystrokes. We may email a "Service Notice" to customers' email address if we believe a computer may be infected with a Bot. The email advises customers to go to the Bot Assistance Center at http://xfinity.com/botassistance, where they can access resources to help remove the Bot from their computer.

While it's my job to ensure that Comcast's Internet services are providing the proper safeguards for our customers, we all have ownership in doing our part to surf the 'net safely and securely. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great time to take the next step.