Security can be stressful. It's a business that involves taking on someone else's stresses, wrestling them to the
ground and neutralizing them. At the top of the list of stressors are suspicious files. Some of these virus-laden files are like kryptonite; they can really do a number on a system. Using one antivirus scanner can often discover malware, but maybe the virus writer was clever enough to evade detection.
I often want to run a file against multiple antivirus scanners, but installing several AV scanners on one system usually doesn't work. AV scanners are notorious for stepping all over each other. Each one wants to be the boss and doesn't like it when other AV scanners are present. Fortunately, the resources of more than 30 antivirus scanner engines are just a Web-click away. This free service is called VirusTotal.
VirusTotal soberly warns that it's not a substitute for client-based antivirus software, as it only scans individual files on-demand. It doesn't offer permanent or proactive protection for the system. And even though the detection rate of multiple antivirus engines is superior to that offered by any one product, don't get overconfident. Turning up nothing is no guarantee that a file is harmless -- but it might help to feel just a little less stressed.
About the author:
Scott Sidel is an ISSO with Lockheed Martin.