Virgin Media has promised to ensure all its agents are fully equipped to offer advice on the Poodle vulnerability, after a security expert exposed the failure of outsourced Indian call centre staff to explain and fix the problem.
Independent security consultant Paul Moore, who is also a Virgin customer, was contacted by the company, told that he was vulnerable to Poodle and was offered a £20 "premium technical support" service to fix it.
However, following a series of calls made to Virgin's Gadget Rescue service, run by an outsourced company based in India, the agents repeatedly failed to explain what the problem was.
On the final call the agent tried – and failed – and failed to fix the problem remotely by installing Java, Adblock+, Silverlight, Flash and various other software. Moore recorded the calls, which The Register has listened to.
"I made six calls, each landing with a different call handler. It's abundantly clear that not a single call handler had even heard of Poodle, let alone had the knowledge required to fix it," he said.
He added: "Beyond Poodle, the technician made a number of dangerous and unauthorised changes to the device. They're also yet to clarify why it was necessary to disable F-Secure antivirus completely; something which could be described as 'reckless' as it introduces a significant risk to the end user. He also purged the 'prefetch' directory, further demonstrating a complete lack of technical knowledge."
Moore said he was been promised a refund for the service. He was also contacted by a senior executive of Virgin's outsourced company.
“He admitted the level of service 'was appalling', to use his words,” Moore told The Register, “and that they're taking several steps to ensure it cannot happen again.”
A Virgin spokesman said: “We strive to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction with our Gadget Rescue service and ensure that agents are able to handle all enquiries. In this case, we apologise that a Gadget Rescue agent did not meet our usual high standards. We have ensured that all agents are fully equipped to offer advice on the Poodle vulnerability.” ®