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Facebook Taps Web of Trust (WOT) To Improve Its Malicious URLs Detection Capability


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Facebook has partnered up with website reputation service Web of Trust (WOT) and will leverage its data to detect malicious URLs on the social network.

Facebook already has its own URL filtering system which has been in use for a long time, although a lot of abusive links continue to make their way onto people's walls.

The social networking website has become one of the primary hunting grounds for scammers, spammers and malware distributors and the company is trying to fight it.

Tapping into WOT's intelligence will allow Facebook to detect phishing, spam and other malicious URLs faster.

WOT is supported by a community of millions of users who have installed its toolbar and are rating websites based on several criteria. These ratings are coupled with data from other partners to determine the reputation of URLs.

When users will attempt to visit an URL flagged as malicious by WOT by clicking on a link posted on Facebook, they will be blocked and prompted with a warning dialog.

"The link you are trying to visit has been classified as potentially abusive by Facebook partners.This warning is provided in collaboration with Web of Trust,"

Users will have the option to return to the previous page or ignore the warning and continue to the destination, which can be useful in case of false positives.

Facebook plans to set up partnerships with other parties that maintain similar malicious URL blacklists. Such data feeds are available from some antivirus vendors, but also from free services like Google Safe Browsing or Phishtank.

Of course users are also encouraged to use Facebook's own spam reporting features which are available for posts, pages and other messages. Excercising caution and common sense when dealing with links in the first place, goes a long way in protecting users from becoming victims.

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