Detecting Malware / Viruses

Marcelo Orlandi
Detecting Malware / Viruses

Happy New Year to everybody!

A new year and a new viruses are on the horizon…… Yeap, as you are probably aware, these new viruses are coming every week, every day and every hour. Right, left and front. By now you have likely been protecting yourself with an antivirus. Let say that you have installed Webroot, Microsoft Defender, Symantec or even Avira or many others.

Let me tell you, that is the last level of defense. If you receive and email with an attachment, or even if you got a file in an unknown or even known USB you should not rely solely on your one antivirus. You should ALWAYS take further precautions before opening any file.

And here is when Virustotal comes handy. Virustotal is a website where you can upload your file before opening. They will scan the file online for free against more than 50 different antivirus, and not only 1 as you have on your computer. If the file has been scanned before by Virustotal, the result will be immediate, otherwise you will have to wait a few seconds to get the result for every antivirus.

If it is detected that the file or the URL contains any malware or it is dangerous, you will see the name of the antivirus and what they consider to contain. Like the one example below where Fortinet detected malware in the entered URL

You can check any website here as well to find out if your URL or file is benign or not. Bear in mind that if the result says “it is safe” it does not necessarily mean that it is. It means that any of the antivirus listed there were not capable of finding anything wrong.

I’ll give you just an example, if you scan a porn site you will find out that it is safe. However, porn sites are usually filled with ads, and those ads are the ones containing nasty surprises, not the porn site itself. For that reason, in the VirusTotal result page, you will find a “Community” tab where users can enter any more information for you to read and consider if it is safe to browse the site, open the file or continue with the process.

Again as I said many times before, the Internet is a wonderful place to learn lots of things, but is also a place where you must travel very careful.

Be safe out there, until next Malware Monday.