AVG: we block 5,000 Facebook threats a day
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 30 Sep 2010 at 10:00
Social-networking sites are letting their users down over security, according to the CEO of AVG.
Following a string of scams on Facebook and a hacking attack against Twitter, AVG's chief executive, JR Smith, has called for the social-networking sites to take security more seriously.
We sat down with Smith to find out what the industry must do to protect users and to get his thoughts on how Facebook is threatening web companies' collection of user data.
Q. Twitter and Facebook have been frequently targeted by hacks and scams lately. When it comes to security, do you think that these sites are letting their users down?
A. We know they are. We block 5,000 threats a day on Facebook. And when we find really big ones, we’ll call. Our chief scientist knows their side pretty well by now.
I think Facebook is coming around to the fact that it needs to do something. It has a huge security department. It's not taking it lightly, but when you’ve got 500 million people on that platform and you’ve opened it up for developers, it’s hard to know [what's going on].
While Zuckerberg is trying to create this great community, he’s going to be the single guy that kills it
[Founder Mark] Zuckerberg, all he wants to do is make everything public. He’s stated that openly. He’s going to be the worst thing that’s happened to people’s ability to do stuff online, because he keeps going out and saying "I'm going to make everything public.”
He’s got the EU commission saying it may force companies to have agreement from the user to store any information about them, or make them dispose of it, or just ban it altogether. And the Department of Justice in the US is doing the same thing.
So while Zuckerberg is trying to create this great community, he’s going to be the single guy that kills it, because legislation will be passed that stops you from collecting data and it will damage Microsoft’s business model, Google’s business model, Facebook’s as well as ours.
All the information we collect is for detection. If the EU says we can’t do that, detection’s going to drop to like 12%. That’s pretty scary.
Q. AVG 2011 has some new social-networking protections. How do they work?
A. With LinkScanner, if you post a link to your page, we’ll scan it to make sure it’s not malicious. We’re trying to stop the spread.
In addition, we’ve created a new orange warning – we have yellow, red and green. The orange says it could be a scam site of some sort. When things aren’t illegal, but aren’t necessarily safe, we’ll flash up an orange warning.
Also, if we’re not certain where your personal information is being stored, we’ll warn you. Lots of games and things – "what rock band do I most associate with?" – they ask you for your name, address, different things.
If we can’t see where they’re going to store that information, if it’s behind a blacked-out partition somewhere in China, we’ll warn you that maybe you don’t want to put your information in. We're helping you protect yourself by giving you those early-warning signs.
There’s also some virtualisation behaviour stuff, where if we doubt the link but we can’t tell if its malicious or not, we’ll run it in a virtual environment really quickly to see what it does and then let you proceed or not.
"There’s also some virtualisation behaviour stuff, where if we doubt the link but we can’t tell if its malicious or not, we’ll run it in a virtual environment really quickly to see what it does and then let you proceed or not."
By timfrance on 1 Oct 2010
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