Facebook Adds Security Feature to Identify Malware URLs
By on October 4th, 2011

Facebook has updated its security feature that will prevent users from clicking malware and phishing links. The feature will display a warning message whenever a user clicks on links that may lead to potentially dangerous sites.
Facebook Security

The security feature is provided with the help of a security firm WebSense, which will identify these malicious and dangerous links. WebSense posted on their blog stating that Facebook is a target of scammers since the social network has over 800 million users who could be targeted as potential victims.

We have seen several scams and hoax messages spreading on the social network. These messages sometimes contain malware or phishing links, which will trick users in entering confidential details like passwords, credit card number, bank details and so on.

In order to avoid the threats posed to users, Facebook has partnered with WebSense to ensure that users don’t click on links that lead to malware and malicious websites.

A platform as popular as Facebook is naturally a target for attackers. We have been working with Facebook and their security teams for a number of years in order to keep their users safe, but now we have integrated directly into the platform for an unprecedented security combination,WebSense stated on the company blog.

How it works?

Whenever a Facebook user clicks on a link that leads to an external website, the link will automatically be sent and analyzed by WebSense. This process of analyzing is done in real time, and if the results returned by WebSense indicates that the website is unsafe to visit, then the user is presented with a warning message. However, users can continue loading the website on their own risk, or return to the previous session or get more information on why the link was flagged malicious.

Facebook WebSense Security Feature

The security feature might slightly reduce on the number of users who blindly click on links and answer surveys, but will not completely eradicate it. Scammers on the other hand will definitely find a solution to bypass this security feature and continue posting messages on the social network.

Here’s a video presentation by Dan Hubbard, CTO of WebSense announcing and explaining how the security feature protects users on Facebook -

WebSense also conducted an interesting  study, which explains how scam messages spread and how they work. The study was conducted by choosing two scams which are still very much actively spreading on Facebook. From the assumption made, it was calculated that these scams approximately get over 2,592,000 hits per day.

Facebook did take some precautionary measures to help prevent users from clicking on scam messages. They had officially launched a document called Guide To Facebook Securitywhich will help its users understand the social network’s security features and possible ways to protect  their  account from threats like malware and phishing attacks. It also includes tips on how users can avoid  click-jacking  and like-jacking scam messages and scam apps.

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Author: Joel Fernandes Google Profile for Joel Fernandes
Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Joel Fernandes has written and can be contacted at joel@techie-buzz.com.

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