Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, has enjoyed unparalleled growth in the past few years. The site can boast of a user base consisting of more than 800 million people – an incredibly impressive achievement, all things considered. Unfortunately, as the social networking site’s population grew, so too did the number of opportunist scams. Facebook quickly became filled with malicious links that led people to download malware onto their own computers. The company has been trying to put a stop to these scams, but have so far been unsuccessful. Now, they have enlisted the help of Websense, a company that specializes in web filtering software.
With this new alliance, Facebook will be able to protect its users better from third-party malicious URLs that are so commonly spammed on the social networking site.
The company had actually already made an attempt earlier this year through its partnership with Web of Trust (WOT) but the scammers’ propensity for finding ways around these security measures quickly made this approach insufficient. WOT works on a blacklist basis – a decent enough method, but one that can’t cope with the speed in which these scammers change their URLs.
With Websense, however, the process is made much more comprehensive. First, when a user clicks on a link, the URL is automatically passed onto Websense. Websense will then process it using the Websense ThreatSeeker Cloud, its most advanced platform for identifying online threats in real time. If Websense finds that the link is safe, it automatically allows the user to load the site specified in the URL. However, if Websense classifies the URL as suspicious, a warning will pop up informing users that the link they clicked on may not be safe. Users can either choose to ‘learn more’, ignore the warning completely, or simply return to the previous page.
What’s great about this is that the Websense ThreatSeeker Cloud can actually detect if a website is untrustworthy even if it is completely new. So, even if scammers continue to create new havens for their malicious content, they will be unable to spread it on Facebook as long as Websense recognizes them.
Websense will provide another blanket of security in addition to Facebook’s defenses and WOT. This partnership will have a huge influence in curbing the problem of scams that have now become rather prevalent in the social networking site, thus making the whole Facebook experience much safer for users, even those who aren’t exactly tech savvy.