Facebook partners with WebSense to protect users from dodgy links

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Facebook's teamed up with security firm Websense to check every link users click on for malware.

Each link will be checked against Websense's database in real time; if the system concludes it's malicious, the user can choose whether to continue at their own risk, return to the previous screen or get information on why it was flagged up.

"A platform as popular as Facebook is naturally a target for attackers," says Dan Hubbard, Websense chief technology officer.

"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."

The new service is based on Websense's ThreatSeeker Cloud, a classification and malware identification platform that analyzes Web content in real-time.

It's powered by the company's Advanced Classification Engine (ACE) - used in its commercial Triton security package - which is claimed to be able to identify malware sites, even when it's never encountered them before.

It's certainly about time. Late last year, security firm Bit Defender released a report saying that one in five Facebook users encounters malware of some sort or another. Frankly, after a year that's included scams exploiting everything from Lady Gaga's 'death' to a 'dislike' scam, that figure seems rather low.

In May, the company introduced two new security features of its own, aimed at protecting users from dodgy links. But the new deal with Websense, and its real-time blacklist, should be rather more effective.