How to Make Sure a File Is Safe Before Downloading It


Malware header.
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In the event you’re involved a file is likely to be malicious, you don’t must obtain it and depend on your antivirus. You’ll be able to scan the file for malware with over 90 antivirus engines earlier than you obtain it—all with one single instrument.

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That is no substitute for fundamental on-line safety practices that may preserve you protected from phishing and different threats, but it surely’s a approach to carry out a extra in-depth test should you’re involved a couple of file.

Scan a Hyperlink For Malware Utilizing VirusTotal

To do that, you’ll must find a file’s obtain hyperlink. That’s the direct hyperlink to obtain the file, not simply the tackle of the file’s obtain web page. For instance, if you wish to scan a .exe file, you’ll want the direct hyperlink to the .exe file. If you wish to scan a .doc file, you’ll want the direct hyperlink to the .doc file. You’ll be able to spot this by mousing over the hyperlink and looking out on the tackle in your browser.

CCleaner download page.

Proper-click the hyperlink and choose “Copy hyperlink tackle” in Chrome, “Copy Hyperlink Location” in Firefox, or “Copy hyperlink” in Edge.

Right-click the download link, then click "Copy Link Address."

Subsequent, head to VirusTotal.com in your net browser. This instrument has been owned by Google since 2012.

Click on the “URL” tab on the web page after which paste the hyperlink you copied into the field. Click on the search button or press Enter to scan the file.

Paste the download link into the VirusTotal website.

VirusTotal will obtain the file you specified to its servers and scan it with numerous totally different antivirus engines. If different individuals have not too long ago scanned the file, VirusTotal will present you the latest scan outcomes.

In the event you see “No engines detected this URL”, that signifies that none of VirusTotal’s antivirus engines mentioned there was an issue with the file.

Replace: As of April 2022, VirusTotal now has greater than 90 antivirus engines accessible.

The “0/65” means the file was detected as malicious by 0 of VirusTotal’s 65 antivirus engines. This implies it must be clear. After all, it’s potential that new and unique malware will not be detected by any antivirus applications but, so it’s all the time a good suggestion to watch out and solely get software program from sources you belief. (In actual fact, not two days after publishing this text, our instance file—CCleaner 5.33—was discovered to include malware. An ideal instance of how VirusTotal, whereas helpful, isn’t good!)

VirusTotal results with no malware detected.

If one of many antivirus engines detects an issue with a file, you’ll see a observe saying that plenty of antivirus engines detected the URL as an issue.

VirusTotal results with only 3/65 engines detecting some kind of malware.

In some instances, the opinion could also be close to unanimous. In different instances, just a few antivirus instruments might have an issue with the file. This is usually a false constructive, although in sure circumstances it could possibly be that some antivirus instruments have noticed new malware earlier than others. You’ll be able to scroll all the way down to see which antivirus instruments had an issue with the file, view extra particulars concerning the file, and see group feedback about whether or not the URL is protected or not. (In some instances, for instance, it might simply be flagged for together with bundled crapware, which is well bypassable.)

A breakdown listing engine-by-engine results.

If you find yourself scanning a file obtain web page as an alternative of the downloaded file itself, you’ll see a “Downloaded file” hyperlink on the VirusTotal web page. Click on the icon to the proper of “Downloaded file” to see extra evaluation concerning the file that net web page downloads.

If you don't point it at a specific file, it'll try to find one, and then show you the file it checked.

Combine VirusTotal Into Your Browser

To make this course of simpler, the VirusTotal challenge affords browser extensions. These will combine VirusTotal into your browser, permitting you to right-click a hyperlink on any net web page and choose a “Scan with VirusTotal” choice. You received’t have to go to the VirusTotal web site and copy-paste a hyperlink.

Extensions can be found for Google ChromeMozilla Firefox, and Web Explorer. In the event you’re trying to set up the VirtusTotal extension for Microsoft Edge, you must allow Google Chrome extensions in Edge, after which set up the Google Chrome model. Obtain the suitable extension and you may right-click a hyperlink and choose the VirusTotal choice to rapidly scan it and see the outcomes.

The right-click option added by the extension.

If VirusTotal is unanimous {that a} file is harmful, it is best to keep away. If the outcomes are blended, you have to be cautious, however you might wish to study the extra detailed antivirus outcomes to see why they are saying the file is harmful.

If a file is clear, which means it’s not detected by any antiviruses as malware. That doesn’t imply it’s protected, after all—antivirus software program isn’t good and will not detect new malware, so make sure you’re getting your applications from a trusted supply.

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