Websense Defensio Seeks to Clean Facebook Links

Websense upgraded its Defensio technology to add new capabilities to combat malicious links on Facebook and other Web 2.0 sites.

Lady Gaga fans should think twice before clicking on a link on the singer's Facebook fan page.

According to a seven-day analysis, Websense discovered 93 malicious links on the page, along with an additional 372 spam links. The firm reported similar stats on fan pages for other well-known figures as well, including actor Vin Diesel (78 malicious links) and U.S. President Barack Obama (451 spam links).

With an eye towards blocking these kinds of threats, Websense rolled out an enhanced version of its Defensio 2.0 service this week. The service is based on technology the company acquired in 2009 when it bought Defensio, and its analysis is incorporated into all of Websense's solutions, the company said.

"As the enterprise demand for social networking grows, so does the need to protect customers and fans on corporate Facebook pages and other social networking sites from malicious content," said Carl Mercier, Websense director of development for social Web security and Defensio founder.

Along those lines, Defensio can now automatically remove content such as malicious links, spam and profanity, he explained. Links to external Websites can now be blocked based on category, while user-generated content is routed through Defensio's cloud-based spam filtering service. Profanity can be detected, masked or rejected from user-generated content posted on a Website based on a basic list of words Websense has compiled and that customers can add to.

"Websense Defensio leverages real-time link analysis to analyze more than 2.5 million comments and tens of millions of URLs weekly," Mercier said. "It doesn't need to have prior knowledge of the objectionable content - to protect against it. Defensio analyzes the links on the social Web before users try to access them, gaining intelligence of the site as well as the content and embedded links on it."

A free version of Defensio is available for personal use. Pricing for the business version starts at $299 per year.