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Faceboook brings in outside security

Websense partners with Facebook to beef up security

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
October 3, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1fb9

Facebook security

Facebook is starting off the week on a pro-security note by announcing its partnership with a content risk identifying company, Websense.

The San Diego-based online security company will be working with the social media giant to scan the links that are often posted to users’ walls and provide warnings for links that are deemed risky and possibly malicious.

While Facebook does have an internal security system that has monitored the site, as the platform grows to more than 800 million users, they have turned to Websense’s decade and a half of expertise and data to supplement their measures.

With Websense’s system, if it finds the link unsafe, a notice page will alert the user and prominently place a button in the bottom righthand corner of the page that will return to the previous page, while a smaller option on the left bottom corner will have the option to “ignore this warning” and allow the user to go to the link.
The new prompt will also provide links to learn more about why the chosen link could have been flagged.

Also if a link is does not alert the Websense software then no prompts will appear and the user will go directly to the link they have chosen without interruption.
You can see below how Websense explains the process:
Warning image
Websense posted a blog on September 29 that the company has been “meeting with a lot of customers recently, and two things that keep coming up are concerns about advanced targeted attacks and how to deal with the threats that social media bring into an organization.”

In order to address the concerns that many companies have had as their workforce floods onto social networking sites for both business marketing and for personal use, Websense stated that it partnered with the Ponemon Institute to “assess the social media readiness and risk profile of more than 4,000 IT and IT security practitioners.”

The findings showed that as more people were signing up for Facebook and Twitter, 63% of companies had employees that use these sites in a manner that put their company at risk and only 29% of companies have security measures in place to combat such risks.

And a staggering 52% of companies have experienced malware attacks directly related to employee use of social networking sites.

The software that Websense has started using on Facebook today is the same “ThreatSeeker Cloud” it uses across the web and, therefore, has past threat data that it pulls from to aid in the real-time threat analysis.

This system also pulls from Websense’s ACE (Advanced Classification Engine) on the backend of the site.
Charles Renert, senior director of security research at Websense, told Vator that billions of links and websites pass through its ACE to check for malware and that they protect 40,000 business and millions of users from email and web threats. 

Renert compared the entrance of malware onto business networks to losing change out of your pocket "except in the real world that can be millions of dollars to anorganization if the malware is data stealing code." He said that even if it doesn't steal your "vital IP or banking credentials, the ongoing coast of cleaning up infected machines can run tremendously high for large businesses."
This new announcement comes on the heals of privacy concerns that have been clouding the company in previous weeks and could help increase the dialogue of proactive Facebook measures, as opposed to reactive assurances.

Websense is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: WBSN) and opened today at 17.365.

Facebook was not immediately available for comment.

Image Sources -- Websense and Facebook


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