Facebook gives users more security controls with Malware Checkpoint

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With more than 900 million monthly active users, Facebook has become a significant attraction for app developers. But that considerable user base has also attracted another, less desirable group: malware and virus writers.

Facebook has caught onto this, which is why it’s introducing Malware Checkpoint, a new security feature that’s meant to make it easier for users to remove malware threats before they spread on the social network.

Here’s how the feature works: Once a Facebook user suspects his computer has been infected with malware, he can opt into Malware Checkpoint, and Facebook will lock his account. Users can then run either McAfee’s Scan and Repair or Microsoft’s Security Essentials. Facebook will then allow them to once again access their accounts.

During the process, Facebook prompts users with a fairly informative bit of text: “Often, users who are infected with malware are tricked into running a malicious program, which infects their machine with malware. Remember, you should never run programs from sources that you don’t trust.”

Malware Checkpoint is the latest in a series of anti-malware measures Facebook has taken in recent months. In April, Facebook introduced the Anti-Virus Marketplace, a portal that offers users anti-virus products from Microsoft, Sophos, and others.

Facebook’s goal is clear: Make the platform more secure by making it easier for users to protect their systems. The big question is, of course, whether putting the tools directly in the hands of users will make them more or likely or less likely to take control over their own security. That’s a concern for any major platform (just ask Microsoft), and it’s a sign of maturity that Facebook is now moving to answer it itself.

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