SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook has announced an alliance with Internet security specialty firm McAfee to get user of the world's leading online social network to better protect their computers.
Facebook users whose accounts are breached by malicious software or other cyberattacks will need to have their computers cleansed by McAfee before returning to life in the online community.
Facebook users are also being offered free six-month subscriptions to McAfee security software and then discounted prices for continued service.
"If we get people's machines this protection, it is better for them, for Facebook, and the Internet as a whole," Facebook director of communications Barry Schnitt said on Tuesday.
Previously, Facebook simply reset passwords of members whose accounts hit by hacking, phishing, or other cyber-mischief and advised members to have "malware" purged from their computers.
"We found that they wouldn't fix the problems and got infected again," Schnitt said.
"Now, we've integrated a solution where they actually have to get machines scanned and cleaned."
McAfee and Facebook have collaborated on a free tool for cleaning up infected computers and Facebook said it will not share in any revenue that McAfee makes from security software or services.
"The common goal is to help protect users of the Internet globally," said McAfee vice president of marketing Brent Remai. "We are pretty excited about this partnership."
Facebook selected McAfee after a competitive review process.
McAfee Internet Security Suite software is available to Facebook users in Australia, Britain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. It will be extended to more countries in the coming months.
Facebook and McAfee cited research indicating that 78 percent of computer users do not have updated virus and spyware protections on machines.
"By partnering with the market leader McAfee, we are taking an unprecedented step towards making the entire Internet more secure and reducing the possibility of threats being brought onto our service by unsuspecting users," said Facebook vice president of global communications Elliot Schrage.
"Keeping the Internet secure requires that users, security vendors and Internet companies all work together."
© AFP 2013