Many of us have experienced the effects of a computer virus. Most of the time they can simply be annoying but sometimes they can have a more devious intent.

Research* shows that as many as 10 per cent of home networks are infected with malicious software (malware) and that 6 per cent of broadband users are infected with types of malware related to botnets (a collection of malware communicating to each other). Botnets are often created and distributed by cybercriminals so they can work from within your computer, without your knowledge, to send SPAM and attack other computers and websites.

From October we will be lending a helping hand.

We are upgrading the Telstra BigPond Network with new technology to help limit the effect and spread of malware and protect our customers.

We are the first Internet Service Provider in Australia to deploy this technology, which is already used in North America and Europe. It is a part of our ongoing commitment to a safe and secure Telstra BigPond network.

What is malware?

Malware is another name for malicious software such as viruses and spyware. It can live on our computers and devices, often without us even knowing.

Malware related to botnets can communicate over your internet connection with what is known as a ‘Command and Control’ server. Command and Control servers are generally managed by cybercriminals who can use your computer to carry out malicious activities and potentially access your personal information.

What is malware suppression technology?

Malware suppression technology helps to prevent computers and devices infected with malware relating to botnets communicate with their Command and Control servers.

Because it is a network feature you will not notice anything different with your internet service.

All customers on the BigPond Network will receive an email in the next couple of weeks explaining the changes in detail.

How does malware suppression work?

In order to communicate with its Command and Control server the malware on your computer or device will make a request to our Domain Name Servers (DNS). Your computer makes DNS requests every day when visiting websites. For example when visiting your computer will send a DNS request and our servers will return an IP address so you can see the content on the website.

If your computer or device is infected with malware it may perform a DNS request to try and connect to a known Command and Control server. The malware suppression technology on our network will recognise this DNS request as unusual and prevent the connection from going through.

Because the malware suppression technology only observes DNS queries and not internet traffic, no internet search history, browsing data or any other customer data is recorded, retained or sent to a third party.

Malware suppression technology is not a substitute for protecting yourself online. It is important to protect your computer and devices from malware with up to date anti-virus software and take steps to protect your personal information, like having strong passwords.

You can find more information on Telstra’s malware suppression technology on the Telstra Help and Support webpage.

* Kindsight Security Labs Malware Report – Q2 2013