Many people know that whenever a file is downloaded to your computer it should be scanned with an antivirus program to ensure it is safe before opening it. The fact is, if the file you just downloaded and scanned has a virus that is new, your antivirus may not catch it before it’s too late.
So what’s a better way of going about scanning files that you’ve downloaded? Well one thing you could do is to use multiple antivirus products to scan your files. The main problem with this method is that for you to do this you would need to install and uninstall every antivirus software you wish to scan with since you can only have one antivirus software installed on your computer at a time. The reason for this is that having multiple antivirus products on your computer can conflict with each other and cause a lot of problems.
The best way to scan your downloaded file (provided it is under 20 MB) is to use this handy website: http://www.virustotal.com/ this website gives you the ability to upload your file and scan it against a list of major antivirus companies.
Wanting to test this out, I hunted down a virus on the internet (Not to terribly difficult) and once I found out where it installed itself on my computer, moved it to my flash drive and used it to test their website. After uploading I was able to see what antivirus programs were currently able to detect this particular virus. Only 5 of the 42 it looks at were currently able to detect the virus.
Needless to say, always be very cautious about what you open (even if it appears someone you know sent it to you). As this website shows, just because you have an Antivirus installed, doesn’t mean that yours is able to detect everything.
If you are interested in reading more click here.
If you would like to check out the “Virus Total” website, click here.