bitDefenderLogo.jpgYou know what they say -- it’s all fun and games until someone loses some data. BitDefender wants to ensure the fun doesn’t stop for social networking users. Earlier this week, BitDefender, developer of PC, Mac and mobile security products announced the availability of safego, a security solution that protects social networking users from malicious content and intrusions of privacy. The product is in beta release on Facebook and is being released soon for other social networks.

The Threat

Over a half a billion people use Facebook and other social networking sites daily, and the user population is continuing to grow rapidly. It isn’t just the number of user accounts growing -- security and privacy concerns are keeping pace with the quantity of new logins. People continue to invent new attacks, from redirecting traffic to malevolent sites, to viruses, to stealing personal information, there is no shortage of threats. The possibility of a security compromise is growing even more problematic as more sites integrate, allowing visitors to authenticate with social network Id's. Users are constantly trying to balance caution and the fun of interacting with shared content. It is precisely this balancing act that safego promises to make easier.

Sharing Safely

BitDefender’s safego application installs as a plug-in on social networking sites. Potential users should be aware they have to give BitDefender permission to:

  • access profile information
  • send e-mails
  • post to your wall
  • read your inbox
  • scan your news feed
  • access your data

Once installed, it checks privacy settings, identifies publicly exposed personal information and provides a warning if settings should be modified. Safego also scans users’ walls, message inboxes and comments for malicious links and infected shared content. In the spirit of social networking, safego also shares its protection by warning users’ friends about dangerous content.

Safego displays information to users with dashboard containing statistics, recent activities and a privacy meter. If the application detects an issue, the privacy panel lists the offending items. Buttons are included to initiate a scan and invite friends to try the software.

BitDefender safego dashboard

Alternative Solutions

BitDefender is not the only company trying to protect the massive number of social networking users. In January, McAfee announced a deal with Facebook to provide a free six-month subscription to its security suite. Earlier this year Symantec also released a Facebook security solution, Norton Safe Web for Facebook. The application protects users by scanning their news feeds to identify dangerous links.

Social networks are playing a more significant role in many lives. The networks provide a social interaction and an entertainment outlet, but they also provide very real risks and being surrounded by friends can’t protect you. BitDefender’s safego does offer at least one solution.