Think You’re Infected? Find Out – Run An Online Scanner From Your Browser

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Today’s malware generally writes itself into multiple parts of the operating system, and in many cases it can hide it’s files, registry entries, running process and services, making the infection virtually invisible.

The installation of this type of malware can often lead to a critically disabled PC, or in the worst case scenario, allow hackers access to important personal and financial information.

There are plenty of good anti-malware products, but no one anti-malware tool is likely to identify and remove all of the millions of malware strains that infest the cyber world.

As part of the mix of security solutions, online scanners offer an extra layer of protection that’s required in the current Internet environment.

The following graphics illustrates a scan I ran on a Windows 7 system:

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Online Scanner Benefits:

Generally fast and easy to use.

Threat signatures and heuristic detection algorithms are always up to date.

Provides deep scanning of archive files, runtime packed executables and email messages.

Can often detect malware that some AV solutions cannot detect.

Avoids conflicts with existing security software.

Acts as a double-check on the accuracy of your onboard AV solutions.

Disadvantages:

May have fewer scanning options than locally installed AV solutions.

Not all scanners disinfect, or remove found malware.

The following are Online Scanners that have developed a good reputation for accuracy; be sure to read the Terms of Use, or Privacy Statements carefully.

Panda ActiveScan 2

ActiveScan 2.0 is an advanced online scanner based on Collective Intelligence (scanning in-the-cloud) that detects malware that traditional security solutions cannot detect.

Make sure your antivirus is offering you proper protection.

Find hidden threats on your PC, such as rootkits, banker Trojans and malware designed to steal your identity.

Simple, online disinfection of all malware detected on your PC.

BitDefender Online Scanner

Free and effective malware cleanup directly from your browser

Incorporating the BitDefender award-winning scanning engines, BitDefender Online Scanner is an on-demand antivirus and antispyware tool that shows how safe your PC is. Accessible from your browser, it will scan and automatically clean the system memory, all files and drives’ boot sectors.

One major advantage of BitDefender Online Scanner is, you can use it without having to uninstall your existing data security product.

Symantec Security Check

The Symantec site offers two scans – a security checker and a virus scanner. Both use ActiveX, so you need to have Internet Explorer running.

The security scan checks that you’re running an anti-virus program and then looks for Windows vulnerabilities, hacker risks and Trojan horses.

The anti-virus checker performs a deep scan and takes a considerable amount of time to complete. It won’t remove any infections it finds, but will suggest actions that you can take.

Note: Does not disinfect.

The graphic below (taken from my test system), outlines the results of the “hacker check” portion, of the Symantec Security Check.

Symantec Security Check

Trend Micro’s HouseCall

HouseCall can quickly identify and fix a wide range of threats including viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. It is now faster, more powerful and browser independent.

Full scan and custom scan options, in addition to Quick Scan.

Support for 64-bit and Windows 7.

ESET Online Scanner

ESET Online Scanner is a user friendly, free and powerful tool which you can use to remove malware from any PC utilizing only your web browser without having to install anti-virus software.

ESET Online Scanner uses the same ThreatSense technology and signatures as ESET Smart Security/ESET NOD32 Antivirus, and is always up-to-date.

Administrator privileges are required to run ESET Online Scanner.

Kaspersky

Kaspersky Online Virus Scanner is a free online virus scanner to find out if you have any viruses or spyware on your machine without having to uninstall your current antivirus software or install a new one.

Most importantly, you can see what viruses your current antivirus software let slip through.

Note: Does not disinfect.

It’s good practice to run an online scanner occasionally. It’s convenient, and it’s a good double-check that your onboard security solutions are effective.

If your onboard AV informs you that you’ve been infected, it’s always a good idea to run a secondary on board scanner for confirmation, followed by an online scan.

Antimalware applications are not immune from false positives. In fact, false positives are more common than many users realize. Here’s just one example – some AVs are notorious for seeing extractor files in application setup files as a Trojan.

So run an online scanner if you think you’ve been infected. You may think this is aggravating, and maybe it is, but it’s a better solution than having to rebuild your system because you’ve removed a critical file.

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22 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, cybercrime, downloads, Freeware, Malware Removal, Online Spyware/Virus Scanners, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

22 responses to “Think You’re Infected? Find Out – Run An Online Scanner From Your Browser

  1. Very good set.
    Bill – look on PC Flank > http://www.pcflank.com/test.htm
    From greeting.
    Hey.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Robert,

      PC Flank is terrific. I wasn’t aware of this site. I’ll schedule this for a review.

      Thank you.

      Bill

  2. PrairieBoy

    If I already have ESET why would I bother, It is the best!

    • Bill Mullins

      PrairieBoy,

      Thank you for your subjective opinion on ESET. It seems however, that you missed the point of the article. ESET, just like any other AV, does NOT catch all malware. From PC Magazine ” In our tests, it caught 79 percent of unknown malware samples when using one-month-old signature files.

      Layered malware protection is the norm. Relying on only one scanner is a dangerous practice, and I will continue to educate my readers accordingly.

      Bill

  3. PrairieBoy

    Point taken, I should have mentioned that it was not my only protection. However, the phrase in the PC magazine you quote is critical – “when using one-month old signature files.” Hardly fair as ESET, like many others, is updated dayly or am I still missing something?

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey PrairieBoy,

      You’re right “ESET, like many others, is updated daily”, and as you know, even 2/3/4 or more updates daily, is not unusual.

      I agree, at first glance it may seem somehow unreasonable to use 30 day old signatures – but that’s not uncommon in AV testing. The truth, is most AV perform considerable worse, and I do mean considerable worse, than that, in detecting zero day malware.

      I have no issues with ESET – it’s a terrific application and deserves to be recognized as one of the best AVs. But like all signature based AVs, it simply cannot keep up with the avalanche of malware we now face.

      As you point out, you rely on more than one method of protection. All users should take this sensible precaution.

      Bill

  4. Liam O ' Moulain

    Bill,

    Thanks for this. I had no idea online scanners even existed. Now I know.

    Liam

  5. vhick

    Thanks for the resources you provide sir Bill. But unfortunately, I never scan my machine online just because of limited internet connection. I have only 384kbps connection speed (As per ISP, I know there is only 1Mbps maximum for residentials from other IPS) and I bet this will be ages to finished with a huge number of files.

    I try online scan as per file scanning.

    But this is worth while to keep for references.

    Thanks sir Bill.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Vhick,

      “I try online scan as per file scanning” – given your limited speed, that is a very good compromise. Hopefully, you can upgrade to a higher connection speed in the near future.

      Bill

  6. Ranjan

    Yep… Online scanners sometimes are not given importance and attention but i hope, your this article may shed some light on them and would attract user’s attention..
    These things are always in my toolkit including signature based AV, heuristics based AV, a bit of my own knowledge and experience, but most important of all- MR. GOOGLE.. :p
    And btw, Bill, i think I’ll not be able to catch-up with you frequently as my final exams are overhead..
    Nevertheless, keep posting buddy, I’ll be reading ’em in my free time..

  7. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Am unable to download activescan2. I have Firefox 3.6 with Activex plugin. Is this another example of Win7 64bit not being supported?

    Regards

    John

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi John,

      I suspect that it is.

      Since x64 systems have jumped in popularity I now make reference to those apps that are x64 compatible.

      Bill

  8. John Bent

    Hi Bill

    Thought I’d check out PC Flank in view of positive comments. It warned that my browser would allow personal info and that my firewall was leaky. I use Firefox 3.6 fully patched and with many security add-ons. My McAfee Personal Firewall is set to enable personal security and it alerted me to the PC Flank leak test. I wonder whether PC Flank therefore only recognises IE and Windows Firewall?
    At least it showed me that my McAfee firewall is working!
    John

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey John,

      I’m in the process of writing a review on this test. Your experience mirrors mine exactly and I find that curious. In fact, the site raised some additional questions for me, but I’ll cover those in my review.,

      Thanks for the comment – it has solidified some of my views.

      Best,

      Bill

  9. Pingback: Quick Reco – Re: Online Virus Scans « Tech – for Everyone

  10. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I use Panda Active Scan regularly, a top notch service. In fact, when I first ran it a few months ago, it found a virus on my system that all my onboard scanners had missed. It was beningn, sitting there doing nothing, but still!!!! A worthwhile addition.

    Cheers

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mal,

      Good to see you’ve had a positive experience with Panda Active Scan, and you’re right – it’s a great app.

      Bill

  11. dean

    Hi Bill,
    One more… F-Secure online scan..
    as good as housecall… 🙂