Defensio adds Facebook integration, more protection

Anything popular on the Internet is quickly made a target for malware.So it is for Facebook, which according to security vendor Websense Inc. is clogged with dangerous links or spam.

So the company announced this week that version 2.0 of its hosted Defensio social networking filtering service for businesses has a number of new capabilities.

These include malicious content detection, URL blocking by category Profanity detection and filtering, script and executable blocking and the ability to gather more statistics. It also runs faster than Defensio 1.0, the company says.

Also new is a version that is tailored for Facebook. The features are the same, but thanks to a new application interface it integrates with the social network site. It works with any kinds of pages, including personal and corporate profiles, group pages and fan pages. APIs for other social networking platforms are coming.

“We’re really starting to see a lot of malicious content and spam on Facebook,” Carl Mercier, Websense’s director of software development, said in explaining why Facebook was singled out. Not only is it a site for ordinary people to have pages but also celebrities, whose sites attract millions of people around the world. With that kind of attention small wonder malware is finding its way directly or indirectly there.

Websense calculates that 10 per cent of the visitor contributions to Facebook pages is spam and believes it’s only going to rise.

Defensio is for organizations that want a software-as-a-service solution for filtering rather than invest in Web gateway hardware and software. Competitors offering broader Web site filtering include Symatec Corp.’s MessageLabs Web Security Service, Cisco Systems Inc.’s ScanSafe, Zscaler Inc.s’ Web Security and McAfee Inc.’s SaaS Web Security Suite.

Derek Silva, a research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research, said Defensio is a specialized service aimed at social networking sites. Among other advantages, he said, is that it can help enforce corporate social networking policies for internal sites.

There’s also the question of on-premises versus hosted solutions. Silva noted organizations have to decide if it’s worth buying hardware and software, plus paying for annual support as opposed to a hosted service. Some hosted services guarantee a certain minimal latency impact on customer performance.

Mercier said Defensio’s pricing has also changed. Originally the price was based on the number of posts to a Web site. Now it’s based on company size, starting at US$299 a year for organizations with up to 250 employees. There are also rates for organizations with 500 and 2,000 or more staffers.

Defensio comes with a service guarantee of 99.9 per cent uptime.

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