Virus Checker For Downloads

Category: Security

It's good to scan your system for viruses regularly. It's better to use an antivirus program that offers real-time protection by scanning incoming files as you download them. But wouldn't it be best if you could scan a file for viruses before you started downloading it? Several free tools let you do just that...

Check For Viruses Before Downloading That File!

The Dr. Web anti-virus link checker is a Firefox add-on that makes checking out a file linked on a Web page easy. Just right-click on the link and select "Scan with Dr. Web" from the context menu. The file named in the link is scanned by Dr. Web's anti-virus engine, which is based on Dr. Web's site. You'll get a clean bill of health if it's safe to download the file or a big red "INFECTED" warning with details about the infection found.

The VTzilla add-on for Firefox or VTChromizer for Google Chrome works just like Dr. Web's add-on. VTzilla scans files with 42 anti-malware tools before you download them. The scan is performed on the site, where you can also submit files that you already have on your hard drive. You can also submit files via email as attachments.

If you are not using a supported Web browser, you can copy a file's location URL to your clipboard, go too either or, and submit the file's URL to have the file scanned. This is more cumbersome than the add-on method but gets the job done.
Virus Checker

Note that neither of these products helps with email attachments which may harbor viruses. You still need to scan attachments as they are downloaded, or before you try to open them.

Downloading a virus is not the only thing you need to worry about when visiting an unknown website. There are malicious sites that secretly install malware on your system while trying to con you out of personal information that may be used for identity theft. The VTzilla scan can also be used to check a Web page against a list of known malicious sites and warn you not to go there.

AVG AntiVirus has a similar feature called LinkScanner. It's built into the AVG Anti-virus suite and available separately as a plugin for Firefox or Internet Explorer. LinkScanner highlights unsafe links in search results displayed by Google and Yahoo.

So now you have three lines of anti-malware defense: scanning your hard drive; scanning files as they are downloaded; and scanning files before you even start to download or visit a Web site. Is all of this protection overkill?

Few users will check every URL before clicking on it. But if you are tempted by a link that promises something illicit or too good to be true (such as a registered copy of Windows 7 for "free"), it's a very good idea to check it out before you click.

Do you know about other tools that can help you check for viruses before you click? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Virus Checker For Downloads"

Posted by:

10 May 2011

The AVG LinkScanner also installs the antivirus, and you can't opt out. They don't tell you they're installing the a-v unless you run a custom installation. Bad, bad behavior.

Posted by:

Tom S.
10 May 2011

Avast is another free anti-virus program that checks downloads, on the fly, for viruses! It runs in the background & is auto-updated for any new virus signatures.

Posted by:

10 May 2011

Thanks. This is very useful to me.

Posted by:

Kathy Mejia
12 May 2011

Hi, Bob --

I decided to try the VTzilla add-on, but the VirusTotal download page made me nervous, so I changed my mind. It's the part where they say that Firefox will probably prevent me from downloading their product but that I should override that and do it anyway because they're good guys. . .followed by a smiley face. I guess their message is that I should trust them because bad guys surely wouldn't call themselves good guys or use smiley faces, but I didn't feel at all convinced. What do you think?

Thanks for your emails, Bob, I like them a lot.


Posted by:

Raymond St Marie
14 Feb 2012

FYI_I tried to install Dr Webb anti-virus link checker and it is not compatible with Firefox 10.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Virus Checker For Downloads (Posted: 10 May 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved