How to Make Sure a File Is Safe Before Downloading It


Malware header.

If you’re concerned a file could possibly be destructive, you don’t will need to download it and rely on your antivirus. You can scan the file for malware with more than 90 antivirus engines prior to you down load it—all with one solitary device.

Similar: Simple Computer Security: How to Safeguard Oneself from Viruses, Hackers, and Robbers

This is no substitute for basic on the web protection practices that can maintain you safe from phishing and other threats, but it is a way to perform a more in-depth test if you’re worried about a file.

Scan a Connection For Malware Applying VirusTotal

To do this, you’ll will need to locate a file’s obtain website link. That’s the direct link to obtain the file, not just the handle of the file’s down load website page. For case in point, if you want to scan a .exe file, you will have to have the direct website link to the .exe file. If you want to scan a .doc file, you will need the immediate backlink to the .doc file. You can spot this by mousing about the hyperlink and seeking at the deal with in your browser.

CCleaner download page.

Right-click on the backlink and find “Copy backlink address” in Chrome, “Copy Connection Location” in Firefox, or “Copy link” in Edge.

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

Subsequent, head to in your web browser. This instrument has been owned by Google given that 2012.

Click on the “URL” tab on the webpage and then paste the backlink you copied into the box. Click the search button or press Enter to scan the file.

Paste the download link into the VirusTotal website.

VirusTotal will download the file you specified to its servers and scan it with a significant range of diverse antivirus engines. If other individuals have a short while ago scanned the file, VirusTotal will display you the the latest scan benefits.

If you see “No engines detected this URL”, that indicates that none of VirusTotal’s antivirus engines reported there was a problem with the file.

Update: As of April 2022, VirusTotal now has far more than 90 antivirus engines offered.

The “0/65” suggests the file was detected as malicious by of VirusTotal’s 65 antivirus engines. This suggests it need to be clean up. Of system, it is attainable that new and exotic malware might not be detected by any antivirus plans yet, so it is generally a excellent strategy to be careful and only get computer software from sources you rely on. (In truth, not two days immediately after publishing this post, our example file—CCleaner 5.33—was found to comprise malware. A ideal example of how VirusTotal, whilst helpful, is not perfect!)

VirusTotal results with no malware detected.

If one of the antivirus engines detects a difficulty with a file, you’ll see a be aware saying that a number of antivirus engines detected the URL as a difficulty.

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

In some circumstances, the belief may well be close to unanimous. In other instances, only a couple antivirus applications may well have a challenge with the file. This is often a fake positive, though in selected conditions it could be that some antivirus equipment have spotted new malware just before other people. You can scroll down to see which antivirus tools had a issue with the file, view more aspects about the file, and see group reviews about regardless of whether the URL is protected or not. (In some circumstances, for example, it may possibly just be flagged for including bundled crapware, which is quickly bypassable.)

A breakdown listing engine-by-engine results.

If you conclusion up scanning a file obtain site instead of the downloaded file itself, you are going to see a “Downloaded file” url on the VirusTotal web site. Simply click the icon to the right of “Downloaded file” to see a lot more investigation about the file that world-wide-web web site 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.

Integrate VirusTotal Into Your Browser

To make this process less complicated, the VirusTotal project offers browser extensions. These will combine VirusTotal into your browser, permitting you to correct-click a link on any website web site and pick out a “Scan with VirusTotal” choice. You won’t have to visit the VirusTotal web site and copy-paste a backlink.

Extensions are obtainable for Google ChromeMozilla Firefox, and Net Explorer. If you are wanting to put in the VirtusTotal extension for Microsoft Edge, you have to have to permit Google Chrome extensions in Edge, and then install the Google Chrome model. Download the suitable extension and you can right-click on a hyperlink and pick out the VirusTotal option to rapidly scan it and see the results.

The right-click option added by the extension.

If VirusTotal is unanimous that a file is unsafe, you should really remain away. If the effects are mixed, you should be mindful, but you may perhaps want to examine the a lot more thorough antivirus results to see why they say the file is dangerous.

If a file is clean, that indicates it’s not detected by any antiviruses as malware. That does not mean it’s safe, of course—antivirus application isn’t best and may perhaps not detect new malware, so make certain you are having your plans from a dependable source.

Relevant: What is Typosquatting and How Do Scammers Use it?


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