It’s so easy to do, we tend to forget that simply clicking a malicious URL that’s posted on your favorite social networking site can launch a dangerous process that can steal your personal data or infect your machine. So how can you protect yourself from dangerous links—just as simply— when networking with friends and family?
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security, and all higher-level Trend Micro Security editions, automatically activates the Social Networking Protection feature when you install the product. It’s part of the general Web Threat Protection function the product provides via the Trend Micro Toolbar, which also works when you search the Web. Social Networking Protection keeps you safe from security risks when visiting the most popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Mixi, MySpace, Pinterest, or Weibo.
To explore and use Trend Micro Security’s Social Networking Protection:
1. Double-click the Trend Micro Security shortcut on your desktop to open the Trend Micro Security Console. The Trend Micro Security Console.
Figure 1. Trend Micro Security Console > Privacy
2. Click Privacy in the Console. If you’re using Trend Micro Antivirus+, the Privacy screen will show Social Networking Protection alone; for all other Trend Micro Security editions you’ll also see Privacy Scanner and Data Theft Protection in the list.
Figure 2. Maximum Security > Social Networking Protection
3. Click Configure to view Social Networking Protection and the On/Off toggle screen appears.
Figure 3. Social Networking Protection On
4. Social Networking Protection is turned On by default and the browsers installed on your system are shown. (Trend Micro Security protects Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome on your PC.) If you wish, you can click the toggle from On to Off to disable the function, but Trend Micro does not recommend this.
5. To explore the general Web Threat Protection function first, open your preferred browser, select the Trend Micro Toolbar, and note that Rate links on web pages is selected by default.
Figure 4. Rate Links on Mouseover
6. Select Rate links on mouseover to enable the additional feature. Now, when you mouse over a link in search results, Trend Micro Security will scan it in real-time and provide you with a rating and details about it. Search results are also colorized for easy safety identification.
Figure 5. Dangerous Trend Micro Page Rating
7. Simply position your mouse over the checkmark to view details about the rating.
8. If you click on a bad link, you’ll be blocked.
Figure 6. Dangerous Page
9. You can still open the page by clicking Still want to open this page, despite the risk? Trend Micro doesn’t recommend this.
How it Works in Social Networks
Note now that the same link ratings are available inside supported social networking sites.
When a dangerous URL has been posted, Trend Micro Security will warn you, just as it does when you do a search with your browser; and if you click the link, you’ll be blocked.
Figure 7. Dangerous URL on Facebook Detected by Trend Micro Security
That’s it! You now know how to use Trend Micro Security’s Social Networking Protection whenever you’re using your favorite social network. It will protect you from dangerous links that can steal your personal data or infect your machine.
For more instructions on turning on the Trend Micro Toolbar in your browser and using Social Networking Protection, watch this video: How to Use Social Networking Protection.
I manage Trend Micro’s Technical Product Marketing team for Consumers and the opinions expressed here are my own.