back to article Facebook to scrub itself clean of filthy malware links

Facebook has recruited Websense to scan its vast social network for links to malicious sites. Scammers are increasing using Facebook as a means to drive traffic towards malware and exploit portals or internet scam sites. In response, Facebook is tapping Websense for technology that will soon analyse the jump off points to …


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  2. PsyWulf


    And it took themthis long to implement a link-scanning feature?

  3. Asgard
    Big Brother

    The hidden spying agenda

    @"The approach is similar to Google Safe Browsing warning technology, which is integrated into Firefox and Chrome."

    The problem with Google's Safe Browsing warning technology (and what Facebook are trying to do) is that every link you click on is checked for validity by Google (or in this case Facebook), then that company knows what web sites you are visiting.

    Google's Safe Browsing warning technology is another Google service with a hidden spying agenda. So its sold to us on the basis of being for our safety, but really its another way for Google to spy on everyone.

    Facebook will be able to use that same kind of technology in the same way to spy on what its users are clicking onto, which is very useful data for Facebook. It will mean Facebook will get to know what is most likely to take people away from Facebook. But even more importantly for Facebook, they will also get to know what each Facebook user is most interested in. That is a lot more marketing data on all its users.

    1. some vaguely opinionated bloke

      There are people behind the curtains! My Rice Crispies told me so...

      Fair enough, have a go at Google for recording everything about each and every link you click on in their quest for global domination, but I'd be surprised if sites like Facebook don't already analyse clicks on each link out of their site.

      When clicking on most external links you're already passed through their handy URL redirect scripts, which are probably compiling huge lists of external visited links for later cloudy processing.

      This would already allow Facebook to get to know what is most likely to take people away from Facebook and they probably already know what each Facebook user is most interested in.

      If anything, this will just be business as usual (analysis of links) with an added "safety layer" on top (link validation). Hardly the stuff of conspiracy theory or paranoia.

  4. k.charlie

    Good first step - rather late and not sufficient though

    I welcome that FB has finally realized what a security threat this is and decided to do something with it - at least something - this is by far not sufficient from a user's perspective. Modern malware attacks are often geographically targeted, focusing on a small group of users and controlled distribution to prevent detection by AV vendors. Any solution that is based on central database of known good (or known bad) links is not sufficient. IMO education is the most important part - that FB admits and users understand that there really is a threat. And second most important is to use some security solution that can handle this kind of threats, on users' systems

    But at least first step in the rights direction

  5. PartTimeLegend

    WOT anyone? I use it to check all links and don't bother with the red ones.

  6. P Zero

    Websense, eh?

    Good thing I dropped facebook.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I use a false name on Facebook, and have received plenty of spam which uses that name. i can only conclude that Facebook has given spammers my email address.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We'll know if it works

    When it blocks Facebook itself.

  9. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
    IT Angle


    Every month or so I go to see my folks. The computer always has malware on it..

    I have tried to tell them about security, but after an episode where the computer got riddled with viruses, they have never trusted me and just patted me on the head. Well, things did eventually come to a head when my brother came up and was surfing some bodybuilding sites, and Bam! Whole system wiped out - it took me 24 hours to wipe it clean and retrieve their precious data, as they of course had no backup.

    Now, after very nearly having their banking details stolen (the Trojan was on there), they start to take me seriously. I have refrained from saying 'I told you so', because they are both very very ill, and are just not able mentally to deal with the wonderful world that is computers. Anyone else I would be annoyed as s*** at, but for them, bless 'em - I make an exception.

    They still have critical data on there and after four or five attempts at getting them to buy a separate drive, they have not done so. I have just about given up trying. Why am I telling you all this? Well, just to ramble, primarily, but secondarily to say: I believe Facehook to be the primary source of the malware on their machine. I won't bore you further with a rundown of the measures I have put in place, and am no expert in the field, but suffice to say, their machine is 'pretty' locked down with a multi-tier strategy from lowest level (turning off their open wireless with no password to WPA encryption with a password that would take about 50 million years to crack by conventional methods i.e. Non-Quantum, with all the computers in existence) to highest level (Keyscrambler plug in for FF).

    I even bought them SuperAntiSpyware Pro with the lifetime licence.

    Where could this malware be coming from? My Step-Dad does not surf porn. Does not d/l cracks (all his software is legit), does not go to dodgy sites. He plays games, sends and receives emails and surfs Facehook to keep in touch with other bastard selfish family members that would not otherwise keep in touch with him, because they don't think it is worth the required effort to pick up the phone.

    I shall be going back in a while and will check the logs. I could be wrong about Facehook, of course, but the only other source I can think of is indiscriminately opening .jpgs that friends and family have sent him. I have implemented another couple of layers to the strategy, so we shall see if he is still being infected when I see them again. Anyone have any suggestions? I have tried everything I know (without making the machine unusable) to help them.

    Btw, Bitdefender Traffic Light has been installed now as well as WOT - works very well, very light, no conflicts...

    Sorry for the long post, but I'm a gabbler me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      spybot search and destroy

      Using it may be too much of a hassle for them though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time. I do not use FaceBook, but my kids do. This past weekend my son infected my laptop with a Rootkit that came from facebook. No porn, no hacking, just from facebook. I know this because I went through the logs and was able to recreate everything he did. This was a nasty rootkit, something brand new in September that several AV programs wouldn't see or couldn't clean. We eventually had to wipe the entire system to due to the damage done by the damn thing or the AV software trying to clean it.

    I'm not saying websense will prevent this, but I've been behind websense before and it's pretty damn decent. There are a bunch of uneducated people using facebook and many experts out there preying on them. Facebook needs something.

    Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance, there is not one product that really stands out amoungst the rest, hell, I think they write the shit and release it so their products get attention.

    Kinda funny how something new and terrible comes out and every site recommends the same software. They always seem to be fast on their toes don't they?

    Set them up to run another OS, or maybe something virtual when they are online.

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