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Facebook teams up with another security vendor to fight malware

The social network will incorporate anti-malware technology from security provider ESET in an attempt to further protect users from the bad guys.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Facebook is adding more anti-malware protection to its online arsenal.

The company announced on Wednesday a new partnership with ESET that will add the security vendor's software directly into the social network's abuse detection and prevention systems.

ESET is the third such vendor used by Facebook to fight malware -- malicious software that hides behind tempting but bogus links or on similarly trumped up websites. In May, the company formed similar partnerships with F-Secure and Trend Micro to protect Facebook users from such malicious links and content.

"A larger number of providers increases the chances that malware will get caught and cleaned up, which will help people on Facebook keep their information more secure," Facebook said in a post. "Together, these three systems will help us block malicious links and harmful sites from populating the News Feeds and Messages of the 1.35 billion people who use Facebook."

A Facebook spokesperson also said that all three products can work collectively toward the same goal of hunting down malware.

In the past, Facebook was a major target for malware, especially given its popularity and huge number of members. One persistent piece of malware known as Koobface has surfaced several times since its debut in 2008 to plague Facebook and its users. A study conducted in 2010 by security vendor BitDefender found that a fifth of Facebook users had been exposed to malware.

Reports of malware attacks against Facebook have decreased over time as the network has tried to shore up its defenses by incorporating security software. But malware remains a threat as always, prompting Facebook to add ESET's solution to the mix.

Facebook users can tap into the ESET software as follows, according to Facebook:

Here's how it works: if the device you're using to access our services is behaving suspiciously and shows signs of a possible malware infection, a message will appear offering you an anti-malware scan for your device. You can run the scan, see the scan results, and disable the [malware] software all without logging out of Facebook -- making it seamless and easy to clean up an infected device.