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Inside Facebook's Cyber-Security System 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the anti-social-network dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Facebook Immunity System (FIS) processes and checks 25 billion actions every day, or 650,000 actions every second. The social networking giant's cybersecurity system was developed over a three-year period to keep the service's users safe from spam and cyberattacks. FIS scans every click on Facebook for patterns that could suggest something malicious is spreading across the social network."
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Inside Facebook's Cyber-Security System

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  • And it doesn't work. (Score:3, Informative)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @08:21PM (#37863272) Journal

    Numerous pages I've liked incessantly spew spam at me, my mother keeps getting messages from "facebook security" or some variation thereof, asking her to confirm her password.

    • by syousef (465911) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @08:39PM (#37863376) Journal

      Numerous pages I've liked incessantly spew spam at me, my mother keeps getting messages from "facebook security" or some variation thereof, asking her to confirm her password.

      I'm not aware of any security system that can prevent external sites from spamming their users. Of course it doesn't help if a company plays fast and loose with your privacy allowing attackers to discover the user base and target them. But as much as I hate Facebook lately, i can't see how you can expect their security system to prevent others from sending your mother email. There are many much more legitimate concerns with Facebook to address, so let's not get into irrationalities and hysterics about things we can't expect them to fix.

      • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @08:42PM (#37863404) Journal

        Just saying, if they really want to protect their users, they can do some regular expressions voodoo on their messaging system. If Gmail can recognise phishing and spam, why can't Facebook?

        • by syousef (465911)

          Just saying, if they really want to protect their users, they can do some regular expressions voodoo on their messaging system. If Gmail can recognise phishing and spam, why can't Facebook?

          Okay if you're talking about messages within Facebook I see what you're saying. I don't get anything significant fhrough Facebook itself. What I do see is lots of fishing spam in my email that purports to be from Facebook but isn't. Not much they can do about SMTP mail.

          • by Billlagr (931034)
            Indeed..and banks, ebay, the Post Office, lotteries, and so on. Not much FB can do about those type of scams.
            • No one would believe that their bank (or ebay or lottery) send them a facebook message, but it is very likely for facebook to send them a facebook message asking them to verify their identity. So yeah it makes sense and it is possible for facebook to parse the message and warn you.

              • by Billlagr (931034)
                SMTP. Outside FB.

                What I do see is lots of fishing spam in my email that purports to be from Facebook but isn't. Not much they can do about SMTP mail.

                • And I was pointing out to you that GP and GGP were talking about Facebook messages (which could be sent by SMPT, but still would have to be processed by facebook before you view it). Facebook has complete control over these and could and should filter phishing attempts.

        • You didn't make it clear that she was receiving these bogus requests through the Facebook messaging system. That's a different story. Your original comment implied that she was receiving emails that were trying to spoof official Facebook emails.

          • If I'd meant emails, I'd have said emails. I'm honestly surprised so many people in this thread had trouble with that.

      • "But as much as I hate Facebook lately, i can't see how you can expect their security system to prevent others from sending your mother email."

        You're seriously suggesting that they shouldn't bother with national and international level data protection laws because it might be a bit tricky? Wow.
        • by syousef (465911)

          "But as much as I hate Facebook lately, i can't see how you can expect their security system to prevent others from sending your mother email."
          You're seriously suggesting that they shouldn't bother with national and international level data protection laws because it might be a bit tricky? Wow.

          Explain to me how on earth international data protection laws require Facebook to prevent random fishing attacks that use databases gathered from a wide variety of sources, and infrastructure that Facebook does not control? If Facebook lost, leaked or sold the data, I can see the problem and they should be held accountable. If someone got hold of your name and email address elsewhere and sent you a message that looked like it came from Facebook, it's not just "a bit tricky". I don't see what they can do.

        • by Bucky24 (1943328)
          No, that's not what GP was suggesting at all. GP was suggesting that Facebook has no way to police every single email you receive (though weren't they discussing making Facebook email? They could police that). I'm rather glad in fact that Facebook can't do this. I can only imagine how much more data about me they would be able to glean if they could read all my email.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've been getting the same messages this week and I'm not a member of Facebook and have never logged on.

      • so let's not get into irrationalities and hysterics about things we can't expect them to fix.

        Except many of the problems are the direct result of Facebook's monetization of personal data. It's disengenuous to say we can't expect them to fix the problem. The problem is quite easy to fix... it simply requires Facebook find other sources of revenue. But alas, I forget my place -- as the CEO of US Bank recently said, corporations have a right to profits. And hey, if a few billion pieces of spam is the price we pay for their profit, well that's just tough. Spam follows money. No money = no spam. The so

    • I can relate to that. Sometimes, even though not too often, I receive spam on my facebook nickname ( which is different than my real name). ~ Babylon Lingerie http://www.babylonlingerie.com/ [babylonlingerie.com]
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @08:25PM (#37863298) Homepage

    It has not detected any of the Zynga games at all.

    • by syousef (465911)

      It has not detected any of the Zynga games at all.

      What you really need is a filter for stupid, but I'm afraid there's no such animal.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        What you really need is a filter for stupid, but I'm afraid there's no such animal.

        It's called evolution, but sadly it seems to take generations for visible progress and there are always offshoot branches that seem to be occupied by the stupid group.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Evolution doesn't favor smart or stupid. If stupid is more likely to produce offspring, then stupid is an evolutionary advantage and intelligence is a disadvantage.

          • As it is: assuming smart people get an education and start a carreer (wich is normal in most of the developed world) they postpone getting kids, sometimes indefinately. Therefore stupid people have more time to procreate and thus they will on average have more children.
            Ergo: stupid is an evolutionary advantage.
      • Aren't Zynga games retrofit-able as a stupid detector, that could serve as the basis for the stupid filter ?

      • It has not detected any of the Zynga games at all.

        What you really need is a filter for stupid, but I'm afraid there's no such animal.

        The Zynga games are a great filter for stupid.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @09:26PM (#37863706) Homepage Journal

    From time to time I would post a link to the Beta Testing [dulcineatech.com] announcment for my iOS App. After a while Facebook would not allow me to post the link anymore, claiming that it was abusive.

    A friend of mine who uses Facebook quite a lot had to sign up for a second account because her first account kept getting censored. She was not doing anything the least bit abusive, just using Facebook a lot to keep in touch with her friends.

  • "FIS scans every click on Facebook for patterns that could suggest something malicious is spreading across the social network."

    Let me fix that: FIS scans every click on Facebook for patterns that could collect more personal information about users which might add to revenue.
  • In a one-hour look at Facebook and privacy, CBC's Doczone [www.cbc.ca] identified Facebook as the worlds #1 site for scammers and other illegal activity.

    Facebook Follies is a one-hour documentary that takes a look at the unexpected consequences of people sharing their personal information on social media. Viewers meet people who lost their jobs, their marriages, their dignity, or who even ended up in jail - all because of their own or someone elseâ(TM)s Facebook posting. To give a broader context to the events, these stories are intercut with reflections from experts in the areas of social change, internet security and contemporary media.

    If you missed it, it's also on again tomorrow night.

    Other interesting points - researchers made an account for a plastic frog, and invited a couple of hundred random people to friend it - most did, sharing their contacts, personal info, etc., with a PLASTIC FROG! And they really do nail what facebook really is
    For users - a large MMORPG where the object is to collect as many friends as possible
    For facebook - a way of getting people to give it up to advertisers.

    • This reminds me of the (semi) recent story [slashdot.org] about how CraigsList is a "cesspool of crime" and, more specifically, CL's response [craigslist.org].

      AIM group “documents” 330 crimes that it says occurred in connection with use of CL in the US over a 12 month period. Sounds scary until you compare that number to the 570 million classified ads posted by 100 million or more US craigslist users during that same time span, generating literally BILLIONS of human interactions, many involving face-to-face meetings between users who do not know one another...[snip]

      James Temple at the SF Chronicle is reporting that, in terms of crime rate, or incidence of crime, craigslist is roughly 11,000 times safer than the city of Oakland. And as he has now updated, there is no reason to pick on his hometown of Oakland, the 11,000x incidence ratio would likely apply to any major city in the US.

      Sure, some stinkers get through and sure, a lot of bad things happen on Facebook, but given 25 billion actions a day, an immensely low rate of incidence will give a very high number of incidents. Roswell, NM [wikipedia.org] has a much higher murder rate than New York City [wikipedia.org] (even after accounting for aliens, I hear) but we don't talk about all the murder in New Mexico.

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        It's not the number of interactions that counts - it's the number of people affected. We can fake the same stats by claiming air travel is safer by looking at accidents per passenger-mile, as opposed to accidents per passenger-hour. By passenger-hour, buses are 3x safer than airplanes.

        Even on a per-passenger-mile basis, because superhighways are 4x safer per mile than the average car journey, you're half as likely to be killed in a highway crash than in an airplane crash on a per-hour basis.

        And if you

        • It's not the number of interactions that counts - it's the number of people affected. We can fake the same stats by claiming air travel is safer by looking at accidents per passenger-mile, as opposed to accidents per passenger-hour.

          Uh, how is using the actually relevant statistics "faking" anything?

          By passenger-hour, buses are 3x safer than airplanes.

          Which would only be a meaningful comparison if people made travel mode decisions with a fixed travel time in mind, rather than a fixed destination in mind.

          So,

          • by tomhudson (43916)
            The point was that the airline industry has falsely claimed that air travel is the safest, when bus travel is safer, both by hours and by distance. So their claims are false no matter which way you slice them.

            Add to that the fact that buses are MUCH more energy-efficient in terms of person-mile. And that the "air travel is safer" also ignores the trips to and from the airport as part of the overall package.

            It's like claiming that space shuttles are the safest form of travel because they have fewer dea

            • The point was that the airline industry has falsely claimed that air travel is the safest, when bus travel is safer, both by hours and by distance.

              The only comparison you refer to in GGPper mile favors airplanes, (you do refer to automobiles -- which are different than buses -- being safer than airplanes per mile if you include only those miles travelled on superhighways.)

              Add to that the fact that buses are MUCH more energy-efficient in terms of person-mile.

              That's a non-sequitur when the issue is passenger

              • by tomhudson (43916)
                First, wth is GGPper mile? And no, both buses (all scenarios combined) and cars (on superhighways) have fewer fatalities per mile traveled than airplanes.

                The energy savings of the bus (and cars with more than one passenger) are not a non-sequiteur - they're a bonus.

                Throw in that the airliners are also making the air much more visibly dirty over a global scale (compare how clean the air was despite increased ground traffic right after 9/11) and air travel just sucks, even without the TSA.

                For negative

  • It's just our Facebook Immunity System making sure you're safe. Honest!
  • They must have a different definition of spam than I do. Whenever I log into Facebook, I see adds over on the right side trumpeting "overstock iPad 2s available for 90% off" and various other similar and obviously bogus offerings.

  • Facebook and ANY kind of security mentioned in the same sentence?
    Who are you trying to fool, but the fools?

    If you expect 'cyber-security'(or ANY security on Facebook, you need to be beaten past death with a clue bat. Chlorine in the gene pool....

  • they would do something about the simple things as well. I've heard/read loads about their session hijacking problems (e.g. Firesheep). I was under the impression they didn't even have a security system/team.
  • OMG, people actually use face-book? There was me silently thinking Google Plus + was the new hip and in thing. Social networking, it couldnt be more anti-social, have any of these people heard of Alexander Bell and a thing he invented called a Phone!

  • The data is analyzed in real-time in a field of exabytes and we need a magnetron to bring it down. Psssht

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