Websense's Defensio Monitors Facebook in Real Time

Lora Bentley

Tuesday I wrote about the British Ministry of Defense disciplining 10 of its employees in the past year and a half for misusing Facebook and Twitter. According to the ministry's own information, released upon receipt of a Freedom of Information request, sensitive information was leaked 16 times during that period through the Web and social networking.


Commenting on the leaks, F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen said:

It's amazing how many people drop their guard when they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter... However, the recent changes in Facebook's privacy settings might make them disclose information to the world.

As I noted, the situation serves to remind all of us that social networking poses risks. But at least one security software company is banking on that risk, according to InformationWeek. In fact, if the MoD had deployed a product like the one Websense offers, it might have helped lessen the impact of the leaks.


Writer Adam Ely describes Defensio, a real-time monitoring application, this way:

Facebook users add the application, choose which settings to activate, and receive alerts when content is posted that violates their policies. Besides monitoring for profanity and spam comments, users can disallow links based on URL categories. All URLs are scanned in real time and compared with Websense's URL database.

Only the content is monitored, according to Websense. The software cannot identify users, and user activity "is not tracked ... or analyzed." Indiviiduals can use the application for free during its beta stage, but businesses or others with high traffic volume pages will be charged a fee.


Ely points to a video demonstration on YouTube, but more details are available at the Defensio Web site.

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