Almost 900 million users and counting, both the number of Facebook users and the collective time spent on the site are increasing day by day. Naturally, this makes the site a target by malicious users who spread malware, spam, and such things. Facebook has been taking security very seriously, but this is of no use if users have their information or account credentials compromised due to malware making the rounds. To crackdown on this, Facebook has partnered with 5 leading software companies in order to stop viruses and malware spreading through the social network.
The companies partnered with are Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos and Symantec. These companies will share their databases of malicious URLs with Facebook. Facebook already has its own list but the contribution from these companies will make it more comprehensive and will augment Facebook’s system of preventing users from sharing links that could install malware. Educating users about such links will help Facebook prevent malware from spreading and be more effective against hackers and spammers. When users do click a distrustful link they are sent to a page which offers them the choice to continue at their own risk. Alternatively, they can return to a previous page or see why the link they attempted to open was flagged as suspicious by Facebook.
“This means that whenever you click a link on our site, you benefit not just from Facebook’s existing protections, but the ongoing vigilance of the world’s leading corporations involved in computer security,” the Facebook Security Team said in a post on the company’s blog. “At the moment, less than 4% of content shared is spam (compared to nearly 90% of email), and we are looking forward to making even more progress in the future.”
In exchange for the data from these security software vendors, Facebook will offer their antivirus solutions for free in the new Facebook Antivirus Marketplace. Users can choose any one of the free security solutions offered for free and avail them for six months. However, only software from one company can be downloaded as part of the promotion. The security software vendors will also take to Facebook’s security blog in an attempt to educate users regarding online security.
The deal is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Facebook gets to make its own security job a bit easier, the aforementioned major security wonders get to reach more customers via the ever-expanding social network, and users get free antivirus software for some time to protect their PCs with. This is also a timely move from Facebook with the company being increasingly vocally attacked over privacy concerns. The site is said to save too much data on users and sharing information users may not even be aware of, such as through apps friends use. It has also come under fire for supporting the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).