Websense News & Views
all posts insights blog news releases media coverage accolades

Published Sunday, October 2, 2011 10:20 PM by Dan Hubbard

Today, we have some exciting news. Some of you may have already heard about it, because it is big!

Starting today, we have implemented a partnership with Facebook, arguably the largest, most important platform on the globe, to better protect users against malicious links leading to malware-embedded websites and fraud.

A platform as popular as Facebook is naturally a target for attackers. We have been working with Facebook and their security teams for a number of years in order to keep their users safe, but now we have integrated directly into the platform for an unprecedented security combination.

Soon, when a user clicks on a URL that has been posted within Facebook, that link will be sent to Websense for security classification. The Websense® ThreatSeeker® Cloud, an advanced classification and malware identification platform, will then analyze the link in real time. If the destination site is considered unsafe, the user is presented with a warning page that offers the choice to continue at their own risk, return to the previous screen, or get more information on why it was flagged as suspicious.

In this way, we are helping Facebook continue their proactive fight to keep malicious links off of their platform and allow safe use for all of its members.


At Websense, we are all about innovation and changing the security game. We were the first company to promote and enable our customers to embrace safe, productive use of social with our web security gateway, the first to deliver security and anti-spam to protect companies presence within Facebook with Defensio, and now we are assisting in the protection of all users on the platform with our cloud integration.

This is the same technology that already powers our industry-leading TRITON™ solutions, and it now extends that same protection to consumers and other users of Facebook.

For more information, you can view the news release here, or check out the infographic below.



ashley said on Oct 03, 2011

okay soo if i want to get on facebook at school how do i unblock it nd how do i get on?

CommunityAdmin said on Oct 04, 2011

Dear Ashley, We can only recommend the same strategies that we’d recommend to any student—including our own children—who want to access Facebook while at school. First, talk to your school IT administrators. They probably block Facebook because they do not believe that it is the best use of your time while at school. On the off chance that they block it because they are afraid that it will lead to malware and network infections, you could let them know that if they have the Websense product properly configured, we can stop malware even if Facebook access is allowed. Second, make the case that social media is necessary to a smoothly functioning curriculum and perhaps instead of blocking it, they could allow you quota time. You might ask for an hour each day, they might counteroffer 5 minutes, and hopefully you could negotiate enough time to swap class notes without getting pulled into a Farmville timesuck. Perhaps there’s a science fair experiment in this somewhere, or at least a school newspaper article: correlate time on Facebook to grades. The results might surprise. Third, be the person making the decisions. Hit those SAT prep books (or apps!), get into a good college, become an educational or IT administrator, and set the policy for the kids whose education you are responsible for. Until then, we hope that you realize that the policy was probably set for your own educational benefit, and remember that just like you get constantly evaluated by your grades, the people paid to teach you and run your school also get evaluated by your grades and they are doing so against some very tough odds that run from challenging budgets to millisecond attention spans to all sorts of electronic diversions. When you get a chance, thank them for their hard work. Maybe they’ll increase that quota time.

Cris said on Oct 04, 2011

If you can detect if a link is safe, why don't you prevent it from being posted on FB in the first place! Seems like once it's there (and people are clicking on it), it's too late (and a whole lot more processing on your part).

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 05, 2011

Cris, the biggest problem is that links may not be compromised or malicious when they are first posted, but may become compromised in the future. Because web content is so dynamic, check-on-click is the safest strategy. For more real-time protection for your Wall, we offer TRITON Defensio (including a free personal edition). Defensio helps prevent spam comments on forums and blogs automatically. It is a great personal and business tool that allows you to proactively protect Facebook walls from spam, malicious links, and even to moderate foul and abusive language. It has very simple controls and is easy to install. The free personal version alerts you when something has been posted that conflicts with your settings, and the paid business version can automatically remove offending posts. Check it out and download it at http://www.defensio.com/

Vineet said on Oct 05, 2011

Can you please tell me how websense ACE performs real time analysis of the content at the other end of URL.......in detail.....

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 05, 2011

Thanks for asking. We’ve been doing this for 15 years and are very proud of our technology, which constantly evolves to stay ahead of the threats. I’d recommend starting on our Advanced Classification Engine (ACE) web page at  www.websense.com/.../websense-advanced-classification-engine.aspx. You can even try it yourself by plugging in a few URLs to see how they are classified.

Rob said on Oct 05, 2011

So, if a site's now getting security warning's on Facebook clickthroughs for no apparent reason, you're to blame?

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 05, 2011

If you are curious why we have categorized a site the way we have, visit  www.websense.com/.../websense-advanced-classification-engine.aspx and plug in the url for additional information. Just be careful that you are copying and pasting, rather than clicking. If you think that the site has been inappropriately categorized, go to the links at the bottom of the ACEInsight.com site and suggest your change at the Site Lookup Tool or send an email with the information to suggest@websense.com. Our researchers will take a look and if they agree, they will recategorize it.

nepy said on Oct 11, 2011

I noticed that you're blocking links to some political movements and calling those links 'abusive' via Facebook. I knew this technology would be used to quash political movements. How much is our govt. paying you? :)

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 13, 2011

Although our automated classification systems are highly accurate, we invite reports of potential misclassifications. In this case, we had a person review the site, and are reclassifying it. Thanks for the report. If you spot any others, please feel free to visit aceinsight.com and use the reporting tool.

J. Smith said on Oct 19, 2011

With your Facebook Integration; when will the School IT Administrators be able to permit Facebook access; while limiting access to certain features; like the timesuck FarmVille/Town, and more importantly, the IM component?  Ideally I want to prevent Commenting as well.  I don't mind if they create a status on SchoolTime, but I don't want to permit their friends while in my school to comment on that status, or any other peer post.  Do you see what I mean?  Allow facebook for it's strengths, but limit the 'socializing' and 'productivity kilers' as much as possible.

Kurt said on Oct 19, 2011

The article isn't clear if I can choose a different option if the site is deemed unsafe.  What I would LIKE to see is a block page (instead of a "warning" page) that gives "more information on why it was flagged as suspicious".  This way the end user would HAVE to speak to the IT support or admin.  I don't like giving end-users the option to determine what is safe and unsafe because typically they are not savvy enough to determine that.

DUH said on Oct 20, 2011

Will Websense block Malwarebytes Antimalware or Malwarebytes.org

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 20, 2011

Hello, J.Smith. You are right on both counts, that Facebook can be a highly beneficial communication and learning tool, as well as a distraction in the classroom. However, what you propose is, in fact, available right now if you have the right Websense product. With our Web Security Gateway v7.6.2 for example, you have granular controls of social media sites. Websense’s new social web controls cover more than 30 different actions on popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. For example, a student on Facebook might be permitted to add friends, but not upload photos or videos, or as you mention unable to post, chat or comment.  Also, games is one of the many Facebook functional controls we provide.

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 20, 2011

Malwarebytes.org is classified as Computer Security, so would not be blocked as it is not malicious, nor spammy.

Matthew Mors Websense author said on Oct 20, 2011

Hi Kurt, I assume that you are in charge of security policy at an organization (based on your comment about not wanting to give end users options). In that case, you are right not to rely on the free public service that we provide to all Facebook users, and instead you’d want a solution that gives you that freedom and control within your company for your users. For that, check out our Web Security Gateway and TRITON Security Gateway products.

Leave a comment

Note: comments are moderated and are not confidential emails to the blogger


Email address: (required)