Facebook launches F-Secure browser-based malware scanner

Malware and scams targeting Facebook to be tackled with F-Secure in-browser scanner

22 May 2014
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Facebook has increased efforts to block malware and other social media scams in a bid to stop their spread across the social network.

A new in-browser scanning has been added to fix accounts that have been suspended by Facebook due to suspicious activity.

Antivirus company F-Secure was hired by Facebook to develop the technology, which sits entirely in the browser with no need to install additional software. Facebook locks users out of accounts when it spots activity normally associated with malware and other malicious software and attacks.

Facebook has an estimated 1.28 billion active users, with scams and attacks able to spread quickly through users if left undetected.

"Helping people stay safe on Facebook is a hugely important part of what we do," said Facebook software engineer Chetan Gowda, adding that F-Secure's antivirus software would enable Facebook to block and remove malware more effectively.

Arto Saari, product manager said that the number of people using Facebook also made it popular with cybercriminals:

"Facebook’s popularity has made it a major target for online criminals. We are pleased to partner with Facebook to stop cybercriminals from taking advantage of Facebook’s user base for malicious ends."

The partnership between Facebook and F-Secure allows affected users to scan their systems for malicious software from directly within Facebook. Those whose accounts are flagged as behaving suspiciously, such as posting links to malware-infected sites, will be prompted to run such a scan before they can access Facebook again.

The F-Secure scanner runs entirely in the browser, requires no permanent software installation and is claimed to be able to operate without trouble even when the host system has a rival antivirus package already installed and active.

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