Facebook forges partnership with IT security vendor ESET

The goal of the alliance is to prevent malicious links from populating Facebook user News Feeds and Messages.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Facebook is well-known for home grown efforts in building its own data and IT infrastructures, but the social network is getting a little security help from a new friend.

The world's largest social network has just announced a new partnership with IT security vendor ESET. The goal of the alliance is to prevent malicious links from populating user News Feeds and Facebook Messages.

To achieve this, Facebook will be baking in ESET’s security software onto its platform.

For end users, there might actually be a state of more heightened awareness. The ESET integration entails that if a device being used to access Facebook services starts behaving suspiciously with signs of possible malware infection, a message will appear offering an anti-malware scan.

Users can opt to run the scan, see results, and disable the software. In the spirit of the Facebook Connect single sign-on protocol, users can do all of this without ever logging out of Facebook.

Chetan Gowda, a software engineer on Facebook's Site Integrity team, explained further in a blog post on Wednesday that this approach makes security "seamless and easy to clean up an infected device."

"With the potential to remain undetected on devices for months, malicious code can collect personal information and even spread to other computers in some cases," Gowda wrote. "Compounding the challenges for defense, most people lack basic anti-malware programs that could protect their devices or clean up infections more quickly."

The method will be similar to integrations established with F-Secure and Trend Micro over the last few years -- both of which consisted of free versions of their respective products.

In 2011, security software maker F-Secure launched a Facebook app called ShareSafe to protect Facebook users while also wooing them towards other F-Secure products.

In 2013, Trend Micro focused on Facebook's most heavily followed revenue stream: mobile.

"A larger number of providers increases the chances that malware will get caught and cleaned up, which will help people on Facebook keep their information more secure," Gowda asserted.

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