Anti-Viral: Facebook Partners with Security Vendors to Stop Malware

Facebook is partnering with the net’s top security software vendors in a bid to crackdown on users sharing urls that lead to phishing and virus-laden websites, the company announced Wednesday. Users can also get a free six-month trial of the companies anti-virus software to install on their home computers.

In the deal, Microsoft, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos, and Symantec will share with Facebook their databases of malicious URLs, adding to Facebook’s own system for preventing users from sharing known links to sites that could install malware.

“We believe that arming our users with anti-virus software will help empower them to stay safe no matter where they are on the web,” the company said in a blog post.

Facebook, now up to 845 million users, is the web for many people, and the deal gives the largest security vendors a new way to land customers. Facebook users can visit the “AV Marketplace” and get free six-month subscription to anti-virus software for their PCs. It’s not clear from Facebook’s announcement, if after six months, users can extend their subscription via Facebook credits in the new marketplace, giving Facebook another way to make money, other than ads and online game. UPDATE: Facebook says it’s getting no cut of future sales and Facebook credits are not involved. /UPDATE

The deal is also an attempt to Facebook’s own security job easier, since Facebook has to treat every user and every interaction as a possible attack vector for things like the “Koobface” virus. Getting more of their users to have better secured systems makes that job easier – or at least that seems to be the hope.

Facebook users who want to try out the new offerings can find them on Facebook’s security page. And for those who want ongoing tips from Facebook and its partners, click the like button to get updates when new info is posted to Facebook’s security blog.

That said, none of the security software will protect you from oversharing or from friend requests from people you don’t really like. You’re still on your own there.