Palo Alto Addresses Facebook Privacy Concerns

App-ID enables enterprises to control Facebook Social Plug-ins

May 6, 2010

3 Min Read


SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 5, 2010 Palo Alto Networks, the network security company, today announced it has released new functionality that enables enterprises to control Facebook Social Plug-ins, empowering users to continue to embrace Facebook while mitigating any privacy concerns. Facebook users in enterprises are susceptible to having their confidential data shared with third parties because of recent changes at Facebook, which cause behavioral data from its users to be made available unless a user explicitly opts out.

The new default Facebook privacy settings are designed to share private and corporate information with advertisers and other third parties. In enterprises, this policy has major implications, as there is no central way for IT security teams to protect their users from the unknown and in almost all cases unwanted privacy impact, which involves the sharing of behavioral and website information with Facebook and its advertising customers.

Palo Alto Networks new App-ID allows IT security teams to protect their Facebook users against the undesired data sharing while transparently preserving Facebook functionality and not breaking the functionality of other websites that rely on the Facebook Social Plug-ins.

This is another example of the safe enablement that customers of Palo Alto Networks can uniquely take advantage of; reaping the benefit of social applications, yet mitigating the risks, said Ren Bonvanie, vice president of worldwide marketing at Palo Alto Networks. For example, an organization might want to enable customer service representatives to use Facebook, the chat function and the messages function, but disable Facebook Applications and Social Plug-ins to mitigate productivity and privacy concerns.

The Palo Alto Networks Application and Threat Research Team actively researches applications. Taking input from the market, application developers and customers, the team aggressively maintains App-ID and the nearly 1,000 applications it identifies, adding three to five applications weekly. Palo Alto Networks App-ID technology enables a more sophisticated identification than a simple signature, putting decryption, decoders, heuristic analysis, and a rich signature analysis at the teams disposal. Augmented with detailed information about the applications use, behavior, and risks, customers can make informed policy decisions regarding applications.

Next Generation Firewall: How it Works for Facebook

Palo Alto Networks combines three identification technologies to provide visibility and control over Facebook-related functionality, users and content:

* App-ID identifies exactly which Facebook functionality is running on the network, as well as the associated risks, so administrators can deploy comprehensive application usage control policies for inbound and outbound traffic. * User-ID integrates with Microsoft Active Directory and LDAP directories to link Facebook use to users and groups not just IP addresses for visibility, policy creation, logging and reporting. * Content-ID combines a real-time threat prevention engine with a comprehensive URL database to detect and block a wide range of threats, limit unauthorized transfer of files and data, enabling customers to scan permitted Facebook traffic for threats and confidential data.

Information on nearly 1,000 applications that are identified by Palo Alto Networks can be found in Applipedia, part of the companys Application and Threat Research Center. Visit the online resource to find the latest news, commentary, and discoveries on applications and threats at

About Palo Alto Networks Palo Alto Networks is the network security company. Its next-generation firewalls enable unprecedented visibility and granular policy control of applications and content by user, not just IP address at up to 10Gbps with no performance degradation. Based on patent-pending App-ID technology, Palo Alto Networks firewalls accurately identify and control applications regardless of port, protocol, evasive tactic or SSL encryption and scan content to stop threats and prevent data leakage. Enterprises can for the first time embrace Web 2.0 and maintain complete visibility and control, while significantly reducing total cost of ownership through device consolidation. For more information, please visit

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