Category Archives: Online Spyware/Virus Scanners

VTzilla – VirusTotal in Firefox

VTzilla browser plugin from VirusTotalVirusTotal, an invaluable free service to the Internet community, which utilizes 42 antivirus engines to analyzes suspicious files and URLs for all types of malware, recently released a Firefox only extension – VTzilla.

VTzilla is designed to scan URLs, links, and files (potential downloads) for malware, by employing the installed toolbar, or alternatively, the right click context menu.

Note: You can stop the toolbar from appearing, by making the required adjustment in Firefox’s: View – Toolbars.

Using the toolbar, I’ve plugged in my own site address as an example.

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VirusTotal’s report indicates my site is a safe site, and does not contain malware.

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Taking it one step further, (paranoid common sense), I’ve clicked on “View downloaded file analysis” within the report, which indicates all 42 engines found – there is no malware. The screen capture below, shows only part of the file analysis report.

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The following two screen captures illustrated both my request to scan a link on my own site – Tighten Your PC’s Security With Free Encrypt Stick, using VTzilla’s right click context menu, and the “clean” result.

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Next, I visited Download.com and set up a download. Before saving the file however, using the right click context menu again, I had VirusTotal perform a scan.

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The result indicates a clean file.

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A couple of caveats:

Regular VirusTotal users are aware that file size is restricted to 20 MB or less, and this restriction unfortunately, is still in effect for this new service.

VTzilla is available only as a direct download from the developer’s site at the moment. It should be available from Firefox’s add-on repository, in due course.

First impressions:

Overall, I think this extension has some value. But, it is not a panacea. More and more, if a site is imbedded with malware, just visiting the site can trigger a driveby download. Porn surfers particularly, need to take note of this.

System requirements: Firefox 1.5 – 3+

Download at: the developer’s site.

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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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Got a Christmas Card Video? Beware of the Koobface Worm

image Just yesterday I mentioned; even technically astute users are finding that staying safe on the Internet is more difficult than it has ever been.

To illustrate this point, I noted that in last few months, some of my favorite tech writers have come clean, and admitted having had to deal with malware infections on their personal machines.

If you’re wondering why even security experts can be fooled, the simple answers is – all of us, you, me, the informed and the uninformed, are in a battle with cybercriminal experts.

I long ago came to the conclusion that cybercriminals are some of the craftiest people on the planet. I say this, not in admiration of what they do, but instead, how they do it.

Business in general, could take away some valuable lessons from the methods used by cybercriminals to achieve maximum “market” penetration. Recognition of opportunity, and the timing and implementation of strategy, is critical to business success. I can’t think of another group  that does this with more skill, than the cybercriminal community.

Cybercriminals use every conceivable opportunity to spread malware, and the celebration of special events creates an exceptional opportunity for cybercriminals.

The Christmas season, when most of us let our guard down somewhat, in the spirit of the season, I suspect, is a timely opportunity for cybercriminals.

PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware analysis and detection laboratory, has just reported on a new Christmas Holiday FaceBook scam that renders users’ computers useless, should they follow a malicious link on a user’s wall.

If you have a Facebook page, you may well be curious and even anxious to follow this link, or links like it, but don’t let your curiosity override your common sense. Security experts argue (none too successfully it seems), that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped  clicking haphazardly, or opening the types of files and emails that are potentially dangerous.

Those unlucky victims who become infected by the Koobface worm involved in this attack, may be lucky, and may be able to recover control of their computer – but I wouldn’t count on it.

I encourage you to read the following PandaLabs Report:

Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the Christmas holiday in a new Facebook scam that renders users’ computers useless.

Following the posting of malicious links on Facebook users’ walls, the bait directs to a fake embedded video player that poses as a Christmas greeting. When users try to play the video or click on a link on the page, their computers download and install a variant of the well-known Koobface worm, Koobface.GK.

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After the virus is installed on a computer, a Captcha is displayed that threatens to reboot the computer within three minutes. Although nothing happens after three minutes, the computer is rendered useless.

Every time a user enters the Captcha text, Koobface.GK registers a new domain where the infection files are hosted, facilitating the worm’s continued distribution.

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“Social networks have become one of the popular entry points used by hackers to spread their creations, due to the false sense of security many users have regarding the content published on these networks,” says Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Users generally trust the messages and content they receive, and consequently hackers get a high level of response through these channels.”

Christmas: Cybercriminals’ favorite time of year

The latest attack takes advantage of an increase in Internet users sending Christmas greeting cards to their family and friends. It follows continued attention from cybercriminals on the holiday season, with Christmas-themed malware that is created year after year.

Examples of Christmas-specific malware first appearing in past holiday seasons include:

ZafilD, 2002: Although this worm appeared several years ago, it is still distributed through e-mails that use Christmas greetings as bait. It opens a port on the infected computer without users’ knowledge and downloads another Trojan.

MerryX.A, 2005. MerryX.A infected users’ computers in a Christmas greetings e-mail with an attachment, which was really a Trojan designed to capture keystrokes and steal information.

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This Trojan managed to infect more than 50,000 Internet users in only one week.

The Navidad (Christmas in Spanish), 2007. This malware family has numerous variants. These astute worms are difficult to detect because they reach computers are sent in the form of an e-mail reply, which has previously been sent to another (infected) recipient. The message includes the Navidad.exe file, which infects computers when run.

To stay safe on social networks, PandaLabs recommends Internet users do the following:

Don’t click suspicious links from non-trusted sources. This should apply to messages received through Facebook, other social networks and even via e-mail.

If you click on links, check the target URL. If you don’t recognize it, close your browser.

Even if you don’t see anything strange on the target URL page but are asked to download something, don’t accept.

If you do download or install an executable file and the PC starts to launch messages, there is probably malware on your computer.

As a general rule, make sure your computer is well protected to ensure you are not exposed to the risk of infection from any malicious code. You can protect yourself by downloading Panda Security’s new free Panda Cloud Antivirus solution.

More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

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Free Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.0 – The Ultimate in Protection?

image Talk of the “Cloud”, as a startling new concept in computing, is everywhere it seems. I’ve always found this “new concept” idea kind of curious though, when you consider that the Internet, by simply definition, IS the  “Cloud”.

Yes, I am aware that the concept is at least marginally different, inasmuch as delivery of “software as a service”, which allows customers to access applications via the Web, puts a slightly different spin on things.

I must admit though, that I have been a late adapter of the Cloud concept in general, since the state of security on the Internet with its exponentially growing threats has dissuaded me, by and large, from active involvement.

It’s ironic, in a sense,  that Panda Security, a noted security provider, with the final release of their free Panda Cloud Antivirus after six months of Beta testing , have convinced me to overcome my reluctance to jump on board the Cloud express, and participate at least at the system and Internet security level.

I’ve been testing the Beta version of Panda Cloud Antivirus since the end of April 2009, off and on, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with it’s performance, particularly the light use of system resources. This application is definitely not a resource hog.

A good indication of the reliability of Panda’s Cloud Antivirus as a front line anti-malware application is, the 99.4 percent overall detection rate established in malware detection rate tests performed by AV-Test.org, a highly reputable test organization. This is an outstanding result.

Should you consider installing and running Panda’s Cloud Antivirus? Well, let me offer you this, from previous correspondence with Panda’s CEO Juan Santana “The threat climate demands a new protection model”. Given the unstable state of the Internet, I can certainly second that, and it comes not a moment too soon, in my view.

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Quick highlights:

FREE, antivirus thin-client service for consumers which is able to process and block malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products.

The immediate benefits to users thanks to Panda’s new protection model are: 100x faster protection against new malware and 50 percent less impact on PC performance, compared to the industry average.

Utilizing its proprietary in-the-cloud scanning technology called Collective Intelligence, to automatically identify and classify new malware strains in near real-time (less than six minutes.

This same process takes up to 48 days with traditional AV products, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan.

The final release includes a number of new features and upgrades including:

New and improved interface makes Cloud Antivirus even easier to use.

Improved performance with cache optimization and memory management lowers CPU utilization and memory consumption.

New website and Collective Intelligence Monitor give users access to a list of malware from the community that is updated in real-time.

Online support forums now available.

System requirements: Windows XP (32 bits), Windows Vista (32bits and 64bits), Windows 7 (32bits and 64bits) – My x64 friends will be happy to see this.

Download at: Cloud Antivirus

Installation instructions (from Panda).

If you have any of the previous versions installed (Beta1, Beta2 or Beta3) do the following:

1- Uninstall your current version.
2- Reboot your computer.
3- Download version 1.0 from http://www.cloudantivirus.com and install.
4- If you already have an account from Beta3, you can use the same one. Otherwise the installer will prompt you to create a Cloud Antivirus account.

Rick Robinette over at What’s On My PC, has also completed a substantial test run on Cloud Antivirus, so be sure to read his report – Panda Cloud Antivirus – Is It Netbook ready?

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Cloud Computing Applications, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Online Spyware/Virus Scanners, Panda Security, Software, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Suspicious File? Scan it with VirusTotal’s 35 + AV’s

image No matter what you’ve read or heard, there is no one solution that offers a 100% effectiveness rate for detecting viruses and malware. At the risk of sounding like the PC Guy on the recent Mac commercial, “trust me”. This is the primary reason that I recommend you occasionally have your system checked for infections by one, or more, free Online scanners.

If you’re worried about a specific file though, here’s an interesting twist on online scanners – you can have any specific computer file (files are restricted to a maximum of 10 megabytes), scanned for nasties by thirty five plus diverse online scanners, all in one go, through VirusTotal.

VirusTotal.com offers this amazing free virus and malware online scan service, to the Internet community, in the spirit of trying to keep us all safer on the increasingly more dangerous Internet.

To take advantage of this service, simply upload a file, that you’re uncertain of, to Virus Total, or as an alternative submit your suspicious file to Virus Total by email. What could be simpler?

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The following graphics indicate just how efficient this free service is.

Received Files/Infected Files (Last 24 Hours) November 10, 2009:

This image shows the number of files that have been detected as infected (red) among the total number of files received within the last 24 hours (clean ones marked in blue).

Received Files / Infected Files (Last 24 Hours)

Top 10 Infected Files (Last 24 Hours), November 10, 2009:

This image shows the list of the most-uploaded infected files received within the last 24 hours.

Top 10 of Infected Files

Quick facts:

Free, independent service

Use of multiple antivirus engines

Real-time automatic updates of virus signatures

Detailed results from each antivirus engine

Real time global statistics

Keep in mind, this service is not a substitute for an appropriate local defense system, including a firewall (either software or hardware), and a sound and effective malware suite (including anti-virus and spyware).

It’s important to be aware that anti-malware programs, including online scanners that rely on a definition database to identify malware files, can often be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.

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So in addition to the “normal” system protection you have installed locally, I recommend that you consider downloading and installing ThreatFire 4.5, free from PC Tools. This type of anti-malware application works side by side with your existing anti-malware tools, using heuristics, or behavioral analysis, to identify newer threats. Current reports indicate this application has a 90% + success rate in stopping malware in it’s tracks.

Upload your suspicious file/s to: Virus Total

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7 Top Notch Online Malware Scanners

image The one thing we know for sure about today’s malware is; it’s very smart. It’s so smart that it often recreates its own component parts even if it has been deleted. How smart is that?

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.

Experienced computer users’ have come to realize that the Internet is alive with predators intent on installing damaging programs, (Spyware, adware, viruses and Trojans), on vulnerable computer systems. However, the sad reality is, the majority of computer users are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers and threats that the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.

The installation of such malware invariable leads to a critically disabled PC, or in the worst case scenario, allows 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 rogue malware that infest the cyber world.

So to ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware. 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 illustrate a scan I ran on my personal Windows 7 system:

Panda ActiveScan 2

Panda ActiveScan 3

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 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

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

Panda NanoScan

McAfee FreeScan

Symantec Security Check

Trend Micro’s HouseCall

ESET Online Scanner

Kaspersky

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New – SUPERAntiSpyware Free Online Safe Scan

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

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

Regular readers of Tech Thoughts are familiar with this advice: “To ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware. As part of the mix of security solutions, online scanners offer an extra layer of protection that’s required in the current Internet environment”.

To make this layered defense approach a little easier, SUPERAntiSpyware has just released its free SUPERAntiSpyware Online Safe Scan, which the company describes as “a powerful new tool in the fight against the latest and particularly difficult malware infections”.

Nick Skrepetos, founder of SUPERAntiSpyware confirms what most Internet security experts are now aware of “The new breed of infections we are seeing simply block most, if not all, anti-spyware and anti-virus products from running. We have answered the call with our stand alone online “Safe Scan” which will run when other products are blocked.”

I’ve long been a big fan SUPERAntiSpyware, both the free version and the professional version, and now having tested this new offering on three systems, I can now add SUPERAntiSpyware Online Safe Scan, to my recommended list.

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This new online scanning service will detect, and remove, more than 1,000,000 malware threats, and in my early tests proved to be a speed demon. The average speed to spin through 42 GB was an impressive 17 minutes.

Some of the most difficult to remove destructive malware circulation on the Internet at the moment include, Anti Virus Pro 2010, Windows Police Pro, Virut, Vundo, and Rustock. Trust me, you definitely don’t want to become infected by any one of these brutes. But, if you do, SUPERAntiSpyware Online Safe Scan will eradicate them.

SAS 1

There is an interesting twist to this new product. Instead of downloading and installing the free edition of SUPERAntiSpyware, you simply download an executable which, when launched, effectively turns SUPERAntiSpyware into a cloud application. Pretty cool move.

Correction: Earlier today I had mentioned that it was necessary to manually updated the definition database. My apologies for the confusion – the definition database updates automatically. Another very cool move.

Some of the benefits of running SUPERAntiSpyware Online Safe Scan on your system include –

It’s fast and easy to use

Will 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

System requirements: Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Win 7

Download at: SUPERAntiSpyware

Additional Online scanners that have developed a good reputation for accuracy; be sure to read the Terms of Use or Privacy Statements carefully, and be aware that not all Online scanners will disinfect.

Panda NanoScan

McAfee FreeScan

Symantec Security Check

Panda Security

Trend Micro’s HouseCall

ESET Online Scanner

Kaspersky

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