Facebook revealed on Tuesday that it has added free downloads of anti-malware software to its abuse detection and prevention systems for users with infected devices.
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Here’s how it works: Infected users will see a popup notification with one of the suggested products when they sign onto Facebook. If you click Download, the app will install itself and run. You’ll receive the results of the scan as a notification in Facebook. When it’s finished, the software will uninstall itself.
Since you don’t get to keep the software, this isn’t a substitute for keeping your own computer clean and secure, but it does provide a nice backup option on the chance that you do get attacked.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that this works only on Windows desktops for now. The company uses a “variety of signals,” to detect a malware infection, with the most obvious being any spam that your account posts.
Facebook says you’re welcome to decline the download and continue using its service, though it did note that you might see the notification again if you skip.
It’s nice to see Facebook offering free security tools to its users, as it should cut down on the number of dodgy links we get sent from friends whose computers have been compromised. The company says it plans to offer “additional software options in the future,” so you can look forward to more of these partnerships.
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