Social networking giant Facebook and online security firm McAfee have announced a new partnership that offers Facebook users a free six-month subscription to McAfee’s security software and discounts on continued subscriptions…but that will also see Facebook users required to pass a McAfee security scan to get back into Facebook in the event their accounts are compromised.
“Facebook is very serious about security and has made significant efforts to protect its users and service by investing in dedicated teams and sophisticated systems,” said McAfee executive VP Todd Gebhart, in a statement. “We believe our partnership will make a real difference in the battle to secure the Internet by giving so many more people access to industry leading technology from McAfee.”
The deal makes McAfee Facebook’s exclusive provider of security software for its members; Facebook says it isn’t taking any money out of the deal if users sign up for discounted McAfee subscriptions. The service will initially be available to Facebook users in the United States, UK, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the Netherlands. The program will extend to different countries in the first quarter of 2010.
Facebook users whose accounts are compromised will be required to use a free tool to scan and clean up infected computers, secure their account, and learn about good security practices. There won’t be any charge for use of that tool, although it’s not clear if Facebook and McAfee intend to offer the tool for platforms other then Microsoft Windows. Facebook and McAfee will also collaborate on content for Facebook’s security page.
The agreement is certainly a major marketing coupe for McAfee, which now has access to hundreds of millions of Facebook users, all of whom are now potential customers. However, the companies are also pitching the deal as a step forward in helping secure consumers’ Internet experience and cut down on identity theft, fraud, and other forms of online crime.