23/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 12:56

Facebook works with Websense to add phishing safety net

Category: Technology

Published: 3rd Oct 2011 14:10:37

Facebook have stepped up their battle against phishing and malware scammers by partnering with security firm Websense.

As of next week, users will be warned if they are about to be taken to a malicious website.

The social network has suffered to date as many of its 700 million users unwittingly click on dangerous links supposedly posted by their friends.

Such attacks usually trick users into sharing passwords or data.

Facebook already tells users if they are about to visit an external site, but the current set up makes no distinction between friendly and dangerous sites.

The new technology will present a warning screen whenever it suspects a page poses a threat to the users, giving details of the risk.

From here, users are encouraged to return to the previous page.

If they wish, users can continue to the intended page, albeit very much at their own risk.

Both Facebook and Websense will hope the extra measures will be enough to deter potential scammers from focusing their efforts on the network.

Scams regularly catch out hundreds of thousands of users at a time.

As more of these 'friend in the middle' attacks happen, you start to trust your friends less.”

"There's over 700 million users on Facebook," Websense's Spencer Parker told the BBC.

"As a piece of real estate, it's extremely profitable to be targeted by malware writers."

The protection will be powered by Websense's "Threatseeker Cloud", a system which stores a database of known malicious URLs.

The system can also detect unknown dangerous URLs by assessing threats in real-time.

This means harmful URLs can be blocked even before they are known to the company - cutting off a key tactic used by phishers in which constantly changing URLs fool database-driven protection.

In addition, the system will "follow" links made using popular URL shorteners - such as bit.ly and ow.ly - to verify their safety.

Due to the nature of how we interact with our friends, Mr Parker says phishing attacks on Facebook are much harder to prevent than other commonly used techniques.

"One of the things with Facebook, of course, is that you have that element of trust in a social network. If one of your friends posts something, you automatically trust it more than if it just received as a spam email.

"As more of these 'friend in the middle' attacks happen, you start to trust your friends less."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Facebook works with Websense to add phishing safety net [Online] (Updated 3rd Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/190862/Facebook-works-with-Websense-to-add-phishing-safety-net [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Ty Hafan hospice care boss cleared of misconduct

    The director of care at a children's hospice has been cleared of professional misconduct over the way she dealt with a dying teenager.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Energy switching numbers still low, says Ofgem

    Nearly two-thirds of people have never switched energy supplier, according to a survey for the energy regulator, Ofgem.
  • Hull Truck theatre gets £400,000 bail-out

    The Hull Truck theatre has received £400,000 in emergency grants to help it out of financial crisis.
  • Electoral Commission warns of voter registration deadline

    An independent elections watchdog has warned there is only two weeks left for voters to register to be eligible to vote in the local government and European elections on 22 May.
  • Eight renewable energy projects approved

    Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval.