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Comcast uses customer data for new “cyber threat” report

The cable TV giant says most customers aren't prepared for an attack against their home networks.

The cable TV giant says most customers aren't prepared for an attack against their home networks.

The Comcast logo is seen on a retail store in Sacramento, California on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Keys / The Desk)

Comcast says most Internet users, including their own customers, aren’t fully aware of the vulnerabilities that exist on their home computer networks.

The cable giant made the claim in a new report titled “Xfinity Cyber Health Report” in which the company used the results from a customer survey coupled with data from its XFi consumer devices to gauge the cyber preparedness of home Internet users.

“The cyber threats facing even the most lightly connected homes have grown so numerous and so complex, that ordinary people can barely keep track, much less protect themselves,” Noopur Davis, a Comcast executive in charge of information security, said in a statement released on Sunday.

Using customer survey results and its own data collected from Xfinity Internet customers with XFi networking devices, Comcast says it found computers, smartphones, streaming TV devices and network-attached storage devices and cameras to be among the most-vulnerable gadgets in American homes today.

The cable company said 96 percent of customers surveyed “were not familiar with how to answer six basic true-or-false cyber threat questions” and another 64 percent of customers “admitted to behaviors like sharing passwords with friends and family that open themselves up to attack.”

But Comcast has a solution to these cyber threats — and it’s happy to provide customers with the product for an additional charge.

Company executives said Comcast’s own XFinity XFi Advanced Security service is available to customers who opt to rent the company’s XFi Internet hardware, which typically costs an additional $10 to $20 per month.

Interestingly, some of the data used for the report was collected from Comcast customers who use XFi hardware — meaning customer data is apparently safe from cyber criminals but not from the snooping eyes of Comcast itself.

The full threat assessment is available to view on Comcast’s website by clicking or tapping here.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).