Free Online Virus Scanners
Even when you're not looking for an online virus scanner, ads for them appear on many Web sites. Sometimes, a free virus scanner appears to pop up out of nowhere and scares you with a message like Alert! Your PC may be infected! What should you do? Read on...
Should I Use an Online Virus Scanner?
What are free online virus scanners, are they safe, and should you be using one? An online virus scanner is a program that runs on a remote server. It can examine your computer for viruses and other malware through your web browser, just as a desktop antivirus program's scan would do. But an online virus scanner typically only reports what it finds. It may not be able to quarantine any viruses or spyware, or disinfect your computer.
Also, a free online virus scanner does not continually monitor incoming and outgoing Internet traffic for threats and block attempts to install unknown software. These are features found in desktop antivirus packages. To fix any problems reported by the free online virus scanner, you often must pay for a full-blown antivirus program. Now it should be obvious why there are so many free online virus scanners out there! But many of them are wolves in sheep's clothing.
So-called "rogue online virus scanners" always find lots of malware on any computer they scan. They scare the heck out you with jittering popup windows, with warnings screaming in blinking red and yellow letters, "ALERT! WARNING! DANGER! YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED WITH MALWARE!" or "YOU NEED TO BUY OUR VIRUS REMOVAL PROGRAM RIGHT NOW! CLICK HERE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"
Or something along those lines. The idea is to alarm and panic you into buying the software without taking time to think. But there is much to think about!
Some Safe Online Virus Scanners
Do you know anything about the company that just informed you that you have a major malware problem? Free online virus scanners are offered by well-known security software developers, such as the ones listed below; the website addresses are also shown and you should be careful that you go to these authentic sites:
- Trend Micro HouseCall: http://housecall.trendmicro.com
- Norton/Symantec: http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/WelcomePage.asp
- Comodo: http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/scan/avscanner.html
- ESET: http://www.eset.com/online-scanner
Remember, free online virus scanners are typically lead-ins to purchases of commercial antivirus software that actually neutralizes the threats found. If you are a non-commercial user, you really don't have to pay for top-notch antivirus protection.
You won't find free online virus scanners at the Web sites of AVG, Avast, and other "free for non-commercial use" antivirus software developers. That's because their full-blown desktop versions are available for you to download, use fully, and then buy if you are satisfied. Check out my list of free anti-virus programs here.
Free online virus scanners are safe and effective if you stick to known brands. You must also carefully check the website address before running any online virus scanner. It may look like a well-known brand's page, but one character's difference in the URL can mean that you're about to download a virus instead of its cure. In general, if a virus scanner finds YOU before you find IT, it's probably best to back away. And if you already have a good desktop anti-virus program, use an online scanner only if you feel you need a second opinion.
Do you have something to say about online virus scanners?
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Jun 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Online Virus Scanners (Posted: 15 Jun 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved