Facebook launches malware checkpoints for users with infected computers

New Facebook feature allows users to voluntarily lock their accounts and initiate malware scans

Facebook on Tuesday launched a feature that allows users to lock down their Facebook accounts and perform malware scans if they suspect that their computers might be infected.

Facebook already uses internal scanners to detect spam and malicious messages that might have been sent from user accounts hijacked by malware.

When found, such accounts are temporarily locked down and their owners are asked to go through a multi-step account recovery process that involves downloading and running a malware scanner called McAfee Scan and Repair.

The new "malware checkpoints" feature will allow users who believe their computers might be infected with malware to initiate the account lockdown procedure themselves and perform an antivirus scan for free.

Users will be able to choose to scan their computers with McAfee Scan and Repair, a run-once anti-malware scanner, or with Microsoft Security Essentials, a full-featured antivirus product that must be downloaded and installed.

"If you are concerned that your device may have been infected by malware, you can visit http://on.fb.me/infectedMSE or http://on.fb.me/infectedMcA to be self-enrolled in either our Microsoft Security Essentials or McAfee Scan and Repair malware checkpoints," Facebook's security team said in a blog post.

The malware checkpoint feature will allow users to act proactively and not wait for Facebook's automated scanners to identify a threat, the security team said.

If users choose the McAfee Scan and Repair checkpoint they won't be able to unlock their account until the malware scan, whose progress is displayed on Facebook's website, is complete.

However, if users choose the Microsoft Security Essentials option they must manually certify, by checking a box on the website, that they downloaded, installed and performed a scan with the antivirus program before their account is unlocked.

Mac OS X users will be presented with a link to a page on Apple's support website from where they can download security updates and malware removal tools released by Apple.

However, they can also separately download the free Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition from the AV Marketplace that Facebook launched in April.

"We hope that by making our technology available to more users, on demand, will help all the people who use our service keep their data and devices secure," the Facebook security team said.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts