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McAfee in deal to power Facebook security ops

Members of the social network will get a free six-month subscription to McAfee's consumer-level security suite and a "cleaning" if their accounts are compromised.

In a move to show its 350 million members that it's serious about their safety, Facebook has launched a partnership with security firm McAfee: six months of McAfee's Internet Security Suite software, a discount subscription after that, and custom security software and education materials on Facebook.

"Facebook is applying all financial incentives from this partnership to the benefit of its users and will not be taking a share of any revenue from user subscriptions," a release explained. McAfee has also developed a free tool for Facebook users to clean their hard drives in the event that their Facebook accounts are compromised through a malicious attack.

McAfee will also be providing content for Facebook's security home page.

Right now, Facebook users in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., Australia, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and France are eligible for the free McAfee software promotion, and the release explained that more countries will be eligible over the next few months. The downloadable software "protects users' PCs from online threats, viruses, spyware, hackers, online scammers, identity thieves and other cybercriminals" and currently retails for about $35 per year through a discount on McAfee's Web site.

The partnership comes at a time when viruses and scams on Facebook have drummed up pages' worth of bad press for the social network; while it's been relatively vigilant about disarming viruses as they spread through "wall" posts and messages, they continue to plague Facebook as they do the Web at large. The company's in need of some image repair in addition to legitimate battle plans.

Facebook, the release explained, had been actively searching for a partner in this security initiative before choosing McAfee.