Telstra assures security on remote IT support

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New way to configure devices.

Telstra will use LogMeIn software to provide a new service that allowed technical support staff to remotely configure and troubleshoot on customers' computers and smartphones.

The service was "expected to be used primarily to help set up a BigPond email account, diagnose a problem on a smartphone, or simply change an internet connection setting," the carrier said.

Users would be sent a text message prompting them to establish the remote connection.

A Telstra spokesman was forced to issue a statement assuring users of their security and privacy when making use of the service after early media reports warned the system could be abused.

News.com.au reported security expert comments that handing control of devices to Telstra technicians was "a bad idea".

"In relation to privacy, we take our customers' privacy very seriously, and always have. We act in accordance with legislation in this area," a Telstra spokesman said.

"All activity using the LogMeIn Rescue service is fully visible to the customer as if the support consultant were sitting alongside them.

"A consultant can only access a customer's device after the customer has entered their password into a secure screen.

"They will be able to see what is happening on their device or computer, and if at any time the customer decides they don't want the consultant to have access to their device, they can regain control or simply end the session."

The spokesman said the system established an encrypted connection and that it had been "fully tested" before being offered to customers.

"Customer trials reveal this new approach reduces the average time it takes to resolve support issues and will increase the number of cases resolved on the first call," Telstra said.

The carrier has recently put customer service firmly on its agenda as it sought to turn around recent financial results.

The carrier had already made its call centres operate 24x7 and introduced other initiatives including technicians available for house calls on weekends.

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