McAfee Enhances Facebook Security Download

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The free download is aimed at the vast majority of users -- around 79 percent, McAfee says -- who are either under-protected or have no security software at all installed on their computers.

Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee, said that the enhanced offering employs more intelligence and research power behind the platform to faster and more accurately identify and block some of the most salient Facebook threats.

"With this particular offering, it's not so much different as it is better," Marcus said. "We can detect and deal with things much better because of our technology."

One of the enhanced features is a tighter integration with Site Advisor, which is able to rapidly identify which sites are safe and which sites contain malware.

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"When you look at how Koobface works, everything is going to bring you to a fake Web site or phishing site," Marcus said.

Marcus said that, in light of the growing number of sophisticated and rapidly spreading Facebook threats, enhancing its security download was becoming increasingly necessary.

"This is the reason that we thought it was so important to have. There're 500 million users, and millions of new users join every day," Marcus said. "There's a huge target base. Facebook users are always going to be abused."

For the past several years, Facebook users have been hit with a barrage of Koobface worm variants, which have bombarded users with an array of malicious attacks, enticing them to download malware with tactics such as instant message worms, fake Web sites and spoofed login pages.

One of the biggest scams making its way across the massive social network is a fake application claiming to offer users the ability see who has viewed their profile or "unfriended" them.

Meanwhile, channel partners say that the new Facebook security download couldn't hurt, especially for smaller companies lacking IT staff or excessive resources.

"It can't be a bad thing, any security is usually a good idea," said Daniel Duffy, CEO of Valley Network Solutions, based in Fresno, Calif., adding that a download by itself probably wasn't the answer. "My gut level reaction is to advise them to take care of it at the perimeter, through some kind of firewall and unified threat management," he said.

Duffy said that his SMB customers have had increased concerns about Facebook and its impact on both worker productivity and security, adding that many don’t have the resources to adequately block the application or secure their networks from any viral attacks circulation on the social network.

"It's worth keeping our eye on lately, just because there's so much focus and attention on it. That's going to be the obvious target for the bad guys. And that concern is increasing, because more people are using Facebook and spending time there, some in the workplace," he said. "It's caused (our customers) problems. That's where we come in."