Thursday, January 14, 2010

Facebook Teams With McAfee To Fight Malware

Facebook has made a bold move to attempt to beef up its security and improve the integrity of its social networking platform by teaming with security giant McAfee Inc. to offer a free antivirus trial to all their users.

Facebook has begun rolling out advertisements with the news of the free six-month trial download of McAfee's Internet Security Suite (along with a discounted price once the six months are up). The software used in tandem with a new light-weight PC scanning and malware removal tool McAfee has developed should help users detect and remove not only spyware but possible phishing hijacks.

McAfee Facebook remediation tool scans hijacked accounts that have been temporarily suspended due to suspicious activity. The tool scans to detect if your account has been compromised by a malicious third-party via a phishing attack. Once the scan is complete should a users PC shows as compromised a security trigger is set off McAfee jumps into action and will prompt you to use a free McAfee Scan and Repair program.

In order to get your free six months' subscription, simply log into your Facebook account, go to the McAfee Facebook page, and click "Become a Fan." Once you are a fan, you'll be able to download the free software by going to the "Protect Your PC" tab--you will be asked to provide a credit card. Facebook says your card will not be charged until the six months is up (and you can cancel before that).

Social Networks Under Attack
Facebook is not alone when it comes to attacks on social networks. Almost every major site it there has faced their share of threats. One of the largest such threats was the social networking worm Koobface, which plagued the site of the last two years. Despite many measures taken Facebook as well as Twitter and MySpace have seen steady rises in the number of accounts being hijacked.

The new services aren't meant to be a magic bullet however when used properly (updated regularly and scanned often) they should help prevent some of the issues we all face. Even then keep in mind this is only one good step toward protecting users from malware, it's still important for users to use common sense and protect themselves. Take steps that go beyond malware protection to ensure your Facebook profile is secure: set proper privacy restrictions, don't share phone numbers and addresses at all, and don't click on links that look sketchy.

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