Facebook calls on Websense for protection

by Ashwani Mishra    Oct 04, 2011

Facebook has been hit consistently by attacks that include malware distribution campaigns, survey scams etc.

Some of these attacks were spread via links embedded onto users Facebook profiles like “See Who Has Viewed Your Profile” application, and fake announcements sent from the Facebook Team like “Enable Dislike Button” link.

With a user base that boasts of over 750 million users, Facebook’s move to provide security was long overdue.

Early this year, Facebook had partnered with Web of Trust (WOT), a provider of community-powered URL reputation services, to detect spam links on the website. The partnership helped Facebook to access WOT’s blacklisted sites. However, this approach was not efficient as the hackers could change malicious URLs quickly.

To have a security check in real-time, the social network now has a layer of security to protect users from clicking on links without knowing the trustworthiness of the destination.

From now ThreatSeeker Cloud solution of security provider Websense that scans billions of URLs each day for malware will add to Facebook’s existing protections.

When a Facebook user clicks on a link it will be checked against the Websense database of malicious links. If there is a match, the user will see a page that offers the choice to continue at their own risk, return to the previous screen, or get more information on why it was flagged as suspicious. All this will take place in a matter of milliseconds.

“Facebook cares deeply about protecting users from potentially malicious content on the internet,” said Dan Rubinstein, Facebook Product Manager for Site Integrity in a statement.

The security prevention measure for users comes at a time when Facebook is facing scrutiny that it uses cookies to track a member’s browsing usage after they have signed out of the site.