Facebook has inked a deal with McAfee that will see all 350 million members of the social networking platform eligible to receive a free copy the firm's Internet Security suite for six months - if they become a 'fan' of McAfee.
After the six month period, users will be offered a 'significant discount' if they want to renew the software. The actual value of the discount has not yet been revealed.
|Michael Sentonas, McAfee's director of sales, engineering and services in APAC|
Most consumers are not adequately protected online, according to Michael Sentonas, McAfee's director of sales, engineering and services in APAC.
He said McAfee and Facebook had worked together to improve this situation by distributing the security software as well as creating educational materials to help guide users to stay safe online - available at www.facebook.com/security.
"We have found that about 78 percent of consumers do not have core security protection. We are going to provide Facebook users with security software, education and cleanup tools," Sentonas told iTnews.
In addition, if consumers take up the offer and then find their Facebook account is hijacked, the companies have developed a process to help clean up the victim's system and restore their Facebook profile.
McAfee will be offering its Internet Security Suite to users of both Windows and Apple Mac OS X. However, Linux and other operating system versions of the software are not included in the offer.
"The technology installs on Windows and Mac OS. This is a consumer offering and so is focused on the Windows and Mac environment," added Sentonas.
The number of attacks launched against consumers through sites such as Facebook and Twitter have increased significantly in 2009. During October, the FBI issued an alert because it had detected thousands of attacks and discovered some people were being conned out of thousands of dollars a day.
In another high profile attack late last year, email security firm Websense claimed to have seen 90,000 instances of an attack that purported to be an email from Facebook asking users to 'reset' their passwords. Those complying were rewarded with malware.
It isn't just Facebook in the trenches. Just before Christmas, Twitter was attacked and defaced by a group calling itself the 'Iranian Cyber Army'. The Domain Name System hijack locked users out of their accounts for more than two hours.