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January 13, 2010

Facebook Looks to Burnish Security Image

Facebook has announced that it will partner with security vendor McAfee to provide security software and services to the popular social networking site's 350 million users. 

 

The deal gives Facebook users McAfee’s security tools, a 'custom' scanning and repair tool, and education materials about malware, according to industry observer Jacqui Cheung: 'They also qualify for a free six-month subscription to McAfee's security suite with discounted pricing after that, though the subscription part is optional.'
 
It's pretty much the textbook definition of a win-win deal: Facebook gets to look all responsible and concerned and proactive about security before other major social networking sites rush to copy them. McAfee gets introductions to 350 million potential customers. What's not to like? If you're not Symantec, that is?
And as unusually perceptive industry observer Larry Dignan notes, it’s a good template for future software deals. Facebook may cut: 'Facebook can introduce software vendors to 350 million users. Who wouldn’t want to distribute netbooks, PC, software or any other product to those Facebook folks?'
 
The extra security is welcome, said this reporter, who has about 400 Facebook friends, approximately 398 of whom have fallen at one time or another for the sort of scams which thrive on Facebook the way kudzu thrives in Georgia. And things don't look to be improving:  Industry observer Jennifer Legio reports that the gullibility of Facebook users is expected to skyrocket. in 2010. No kidding -- we have the endless 'Hey, a virus got into my account, sorry for the ____, everyone!' messages to prove it.  

Interestingly, a couple weeks ago, McAfee released an end-of-year threat report, finding that while in 2009 'we saw increased attacks on Web sites, exploit cocktails thrown at unsuspecting users, infrastructure failure via natural and unnatural causes... with Facebook reaching more than 350 million users, we expect that 2010 will take these trends to new heights.'

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire


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