Malicious software may target users on the social networking site Facebook directly or indirectly. Once user systems have been infected their accounts may be used for malicious activities on the site, for instance by spamming other users, social engineering or posting links to malicious files or contents on Facebook.
Facebook runs automated scripts that detect this behavior. When a user is identified, the account gets locked to prevent further damages. The user will also be notified about the finding, and in that message are antivirus product suggestions to clean the system from malware.
Yesterday Facebook announced that it is making those tools available to all users of the site. For that, it has partnered up with McAfee and Microsoft to provide all of its users with McAfee's Scan and Repair and Microsoft's Security Essentials application.
One could now say that those programs may not be the most thorough when it comes to cleaning malware on the system. And while that is certainly right, they are capable of identifying and removing popular malware properly from the system.
McAfee's Scan and Repair is an on-demand scanner that you run once without installation on the system. You can use it to detect and remove malware on the system, and without interfering with installed antivirus solutions. Microsoft's Security Essentials product on the other hand is installed on the system, but since it is compatible with the vast majority of antivirus solutions, users should not notice any incompatibilities after installing the software on their system.
Users who check into one of the available malware checkpoints are provided with options to secure their accounts to get help resolving the issue and to prevent further damages to the account.
You find links pointing to both products on the Facebook Security page. You need to enter your current Facebook password before you are taken to the page that you see above. Here you can cancel the operation which takes you back to your Facebook stream, or click on continue to proceed with the process. If you have selected the McAfee product, you won't be able to unlock your Facebook account until you have run a malware scan using it on your system. The progress is displayed directly on Facebook. Microsoft Security Essential users on the other hand need to check a box that they have scanned their system to unlock it again.
Probably the biggest issue of the new service is that users need to be aware of it to use it. Have you ever had issues with malware on Facebook?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.