Facebook fights malware with free antivirus push

Facebook fights malware with free antivirus push

Summary: Facebook has introduced the Malware Checkpoint, which helps users fight malware on their computers with free antivirus solutions. Windows users get download links to McAfee Scan and Repair and Microsoft Security Essentials.

Facebook fights malware with free antivirus push

Facebook has launched a service called the Malware Checkpoint. In short, Facebook now directs users who think their computer might be infected to sites where they can get free antivirus software.

This is an extension of an existing service: Facebook already notifies you when it detects a possible malware infection on your machine and provides you with free antivirus software to clean up the infection. Now you can get the same treatment if you are worried about an infection before Facebook spots it.

"Previously, if you suspected you may have malware installed on your device, you would either need to run anti-virus on your device or wait until Facebook identified an actionable threat," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Now, with our new self-enrollment malware checkpoint, you will be able to proactively obtain your choice of a free anti-virus product to scan and clean your system."

Facebook offers two products for all of its 901 million monthly active users: McAfee's Scan and Repair as well as Microsoft's Security Essentials. I recommend using the latter. Here's how Facebook differentiates the two options:

  1. The McAfee option will download a small program onto your Windows computer to perform a one-time scan of your system for malware. It will not interfere with your existing anti-virus or other security products. After it scans your system, it will give you the option to automatically or manually remove the files it flags as malicious.
  2. The Microsoft Security Essentials option is a full anti-virus product. Upon download and install, it will add anti-virus software to your computer that will continue to protect your system with the latest anti-virus signatures from Microsoft.

Three months ago, Facebook launched its Antivirus Marketplace after partnering with five companies (Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, and Symantec) to provide its users with access to full version antivirus software free for six months. The five companies also agreed to augment Facebook's URL blacklist system with their own URL blacklist databases.

It's worth noting that both of the aforementioned solutions are for Windows. Curiously, Mac users are redirected to the Apple Security Updates site, even though Facebook offers Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition on its Antivirus Marketplace.

Still, this is a step in the right direction since the social networking giant is now starting to help users who think they have malware on their systems. Who can complain about that?

See also:

Topics: Security, Malware, Software, Social Enterprise

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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  • Lost all respect for Facebook.

    A yoga instructor at Facebook was fired, why? At the beginning of her class she asked all students to turn off their cell phones. During class one student started texting, the instructor stared at her but said nothing. Again, later the student started texting on the cell phone again the instructor shot a disapproving look yet said nothing. Ah, the student complained to higher ups so the yoga instructor was fired.

    As I see it the stupid self centered "it is all about me" Facebook employee should have been fired.

    Paraphrased from the San Jose Mercury News.
    • Holy moley

      Thank you for sharing.

      That does not surprise me at all and the instructor had every right to tell the students to turn off the phone.

      In classes, I use my phone to record notes - the instructor thought I was texting but I showed him I was taking real notes and I was happy to prove it. Talk about another example of how "going paperless" is a gross waste of time since everybody thinks everybody is texting or other things...

      The student should have come forward showing she was taking notes and not texting. I don't text - that's disrespectful to the instructor.

      But if using phones will be outlawed then give us the pad and paper, and ban the ipad and finger already.

      On the plus side, put HD cameras in the rooms to help show who the guilty people are. Seig heil. It's all good.
  • Sorry, I know how to find good antivirus companies

    Oh, my phone's upgrade came with facebook and it appeared to be actively doing something, despite my not having a facebook account. When you have something on your system, you did not put it there, and it's adding to its size, don't tell me that's not malware. I don't recall if the network usage log reported anything (a couple values were zero), but the app should not have been installed in the first place. Maybe it was malware, but it came directly as part of a phone update. (But at least there was no CarrierIQ, another piece of malware...)
  • Facebook makes money from users fear.

    Facebook are offering 4 very average commercial AV products and 1 decent free MicroSoft product (notice they didn't team up with AVG or Avira).
    The McAfee tool is the same thing you get shoved at you with things like flash updates. Symantec make a similar tool, distributed the same way.
    They are just bait to get you to buy their very average full AV.
    Facebook are making money from this deal, or they would not be in it.
    Why weren't you already told to install an AV product before disaster?

    Waiting till there is a detected threat, is also a completely ridiculous attitude.
    BitDefender SafeGo takes a proactive role by being a FaceBook plugin that scans yours and friends profiles looking for malware.
    Dr.Web have a browser plugin that checks external links for malicious content before you leave FB.

    I send my customers to the VB100 AV comparison page, as an easy to digest guide to what the best options in AV products are.
    Good products don't need to be shoved at you, they sell themselves.

    I made a page with browser addons and web-based anti-malware tools, and links to a useful range of other FREE security services (pro-active and retro-active).

    My personal advice.
    Install Avira if you want the best free AV.
    Doc Flay
  • facebook does what now?

    When did facebook stop being a social network and start encroaching on every aspect of my online experience?

    Distributing genuine, quality anti-virus software is a great idea, but it seriously bothers me that FACEBOOK might somehow detect a virus in my browser or on my computer.

    It absolutely should not have the ability to access anything outside the browser; it's a website. I don't even like it looking through my browser for security flaws. Being able to do so is a security flaw from my point of view, particularly in that checking for bad cookies and funny settings is an invasion of privacy that I have not agreed to (though perhaps I should re-read the user agreement I just clicked through about 8 years ago).

    Oh, wait.... I use Linux.


    What is a "virus"?