New Facebook Message System Will ‘Friend’ Cybersecurity
The tech world was buzzing yesterday as Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook team launched its new messaging system, a tool that will seek to unify and simplify communication, incorporating emails, instant messages, texts, chats and other online conversations into one platform.
And while the means of communicating as we know it will become almost effortless for many of Facebook’s half a billion active users worldwide, those of us in the cybersecurity world couldn’t help but wonder if the site’s new “seamless messaging” would, in fact, prove to be seamless on all fronts, including that of security.
To track down those answers, Cybersecurity News caught up with Facebook to ask what precautions the social media giant would take to secure the new influx of user data and to seek out potential vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
Taking a “whitelist approach” to manage its new system, a Facebook spokesperson told Cybersecurity News that the site will use social graphing to filter and “ensure that the inbox contains only messages from [a user’s] Facebook friends and their friends by default.” (i.e. If there is no social connection through Facebook between you and the message sender, that message would be filtered into a separate “Other” folder.)
In addition to message filters, Facebook will also take advantage of its “numerous existing technical defenses to combat security threats,” the spokesperson said, adding that this includes “systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag suspicious behavior, based on anomalous activity like lots of messages sent in a short period of time, or messages with links that are known to be bad.”
And if a phony message is detected? “We can delete all instances of it across the site,” the Facebook spokesperson vowed.
But before we can start assuming that Facebook will launch a competitive antivirus application anytime soon, the FB rep noted that the site is using additional third-party security services “to supplement spam detection and protection.”
So while Facebook seems to have ‘friended’ the idea security for its new messaging system, the issue now lies in the hands of its users.
The advice: Filter who you friend on Facebook… before Facebook filters your “friend’s” message into you.