Facebook is introducing URL (link scanning) protection for its users as from today (Oct 3rd, 2011). When a user clicks on any link in Facebook, Websense using its ThreatSeeker Cloud Malware Identification Platform, will analzye each URL in real-time for potential malicious content. If ThreatSeeker finds malicious content the user will be warned “Security Alert: This Link May Not Be Safe”. An image of what this alert will look like can be seen below:
There are a number of Facebook apps from reputable security vendors that scan URLs, protect your privacy and reputation (including comments, posts, messages etc) and then there is the small matter of whether Facebooks relationship with Web of Trust (WOT) is of any benefit now, given this latest announcement. I’ve never been one for ‘community-based website ratings’ like WOT, mainly due to the high false positive rates i.e. safe sites can be rated dangerous and dangerous sites rated safe. You can make your own mind up here.
Facebook already scans URLs for malicious links, but by adding Websenses cloud-based malware technology (Websense are not the only company that uses the cloud to scan for malicious content – most if not all security vendors do this in some way or another), they further enhance the security offering to Facebook users. One can only applaud Facebook for continuing to build user privacy and protection, even if it is becoming rather more complex for end users to understand.
Safe surfing folks!