Facebook serves anti-virus software to over 30 million people through its AV marketplace — a function you probably didn’t realize Facebook had. The company added seven new security companies to the mix today that will not only provide virus protection but will also help Facebook build its security tools.
The eight new anti-virus providers are Kaspersky, Total Defense, Webroot, Avast!, AVG, Avira, and Panda. They join Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec, TrendMicro, and Symantec.
The marketplace originally launched in April and gives Facebook users a variety of anti-virus software downloads as well as Facebook tips, a security guide, and updates on current threats. The downloads are free, but you’ll be prompted to pay after a six-month trial run.
In addition to providing free anti-virus software to Facebook users, these eight companies will also help Facebook develop its “URL blacklist system.” Facebook will be able to query the companies’ databases of viruses and malware to detect infected websites before users click on them.
The social networks says the system looks through trillions of links daily. And it seems the partnerships won’t stop there.
“Whenever you click a link on our site you are protected both by Facebook and 13 of the industry leaders in computer security,” said Facebook’s security team in a blog post. “We will be cooperating with these partners more in the future and look forward to announcing new tools soon.”
Separate from the anti-virus marketplace, Facebook also opened up a phishing “hotline.” Really, it’s just an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where users can report phishing attempts on Facebook. Still, phishing is one of the most commonly used ways to steal personal information. It’s important that the big guys like Facebook are paying attention to it.