Facebook Immune System checks 25 billion actions every day

Facebook Immune System checks 25 billion actions every day

Summary: Do you ever wonder how Facebook fights spam? The company has released some details about the Facebook Immune System (FIS), which processes 650,000 actions every second.

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The Facebook Immune System (FIS) processes and checks 25 billion actions every day, or 650,000 actions every second. The social networking giant's cybersecurity system was developed over a three-year period to keep the service's users safe from spam and cyberattacks. FIS scans every click on Facebook for patterns that could suggest something malicious is spreading across the social network.

Results have shown that it is highly efficient: spam has dropped to account for less than 4 percent of Facebook's total messages, which affect under 0.5 percent of users. Then again, given that Facebook has 800 million active users, that's still 4 million users being hit by spam.

FIS works to protect users against spam by harnessing artificially intelligent software to detect suspicious patterns of behavior, according to New Scientist. The system is overseen by a team of 30 security experts, but learns in real-time and regularly takes action without checking with a human supervisor.

Still, it's not perfect. The system has trouble fighting strategies it has not seen before, such as a socialbot attack. Socialbots randomly send friend requests, which leads to an unusually high number of rejections. FIS is learning to recognize this pattern to block a socialbot attack.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, recently used 102 socialbots to make a combined 3,000 friends in eight weeks. The bots began by sending friend requests to random users, 20 percent of whom accepted, and then to their mutual friends, which resulted in the acceptance rate jumping to almost 60 percent.

Such an attack means it doesn't matter if users hide their personal information from public view as long as they let their friends have visibility. The socialbots thus managed to extract some 46,500 email addresses and 14,500 physical addresses from users' profiles. "An attacker could do many things with this data," said Yazan Boshmaf, who will present the team's work at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference in Orlando, Florida, next month.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Security

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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      @pipefittings Good it's great. I happen to know quite alot about FB security, although I'm not an expert I have seen what it can do. The factor the engineers have put into the equation is time, no spammer likes to waste time, some do but most don't and Facebooks system requires long delays between each submission. Youtube has a similar system although not perfect, there are workarounds. <br><br>The REAL problem for Facebook is at the end of the day they are not facing robots, they are facing humans and humans are smarter than robots, true spammers will have many tools to help them but they are always there guiding them to complete the job sucessfully and constantly designing them to overcome problems such as time delays, macros multiple ips, accounts etc. <br><br>I have seen many viral submissions on FB, if you can imagine ZDnet's traffic per month and multiply that by 10 and spreading within one hour, it's a huge amount of traffic, but Facebook are the smart guys they find ways to lock down segments mannually when this sort of thing happens..<br><br>The smart thing what FB did was develop /l.php from the start, so every link you click on in FB is a facebook link, this lets them control who leaves the site, lockdown certains links and so forth, they also have this control through people entering the site, this helps them to mange their servers properly.<br><br>You will notice Twitter doing the same thing with the development of t.co, this is sophisticated technoglogy and takes years to develop, they have been devloping it for the last 16 months, they are paying the price for not developing it sooner
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  • RE: Facebook Immune System checks 25 billion actions every day

    25 million..... thats just a tad on the insane side. I would love to see the servers they have dedicated to that.
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  • RE: Facebook Immune System checks 25 billion actions every day

    A Human body has aprox. 35 billion white cells in the blood without infection , I imagine Facebook has a lot to learn to be considered themselves with an "Immune System".
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