Facebook and Websense join forces against malware

Facebook and Websense have joined forces to handle their web security. Malware had previously been very troublesome on Facebook – with users being happy to click on any links appearing on their news feed, but were sometimes led to dangerous websites filled with malware designed to snoop on people and their private information and sneaky ploys to get the user’s passwords.

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These malware-ridden days may now be over, as when you click on a link on Facebook it will instantly test the link by checking that it isn’t on Websense’s list of horrible and nasty blacklisted sites via their ThreatSeeker Cloud technology. If the link matches a dodgy website, then you will be thankfully warned via a Websense message that the website that you are about to visit is a right old virus/malware-ridden stinker and should be avoided at all costs. Well, perhaps not worded exactly the same way…but you get the general gist!

Facebook does obviously have their own database of dodgy websites in an attempt to keep malware off the site, as well as collaborations on the go with independent security companies, such as Web of Trust (WOT) – a provider of community-powered URL reputation services – who have been collaborating with Facebook since May.

However, IT PRO interviewed Websense Security Labs senior manager, a Mr Carl Leonard, who said that currently around 10 per cent of URLs on status updates were malicious links, so this team-up seems essential to combat a recent nuisance and it is good to see Facebook taking action to try and prevent malware on the vastly popular social networking website.

Facebook users – all 800 million of you – can expect to see the new warnings at some point this week when Zuckerman and his cronies update their servers. However, due to the “cleverness” of hackers and scammers in being able to usually sidestep whatever security is thrown at them, the security war is far from over!

Andrew Parker has contributed many specialist articles on computer forensics and mobile phone forensics.

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