FREE ANTI-VIRUS SCANS

A free service at VirusTotal.com will take any PC file that is ten megabytes or less and put it through a rigorous scan by 32 of the best anti-virus programs.

You start by downloading some software from VirusTotal.com. You then send them a file simply by right-clicking the file name and choosing VirusTotal as the “send to” destination. A full scan takes about one minute.

The site can handle files in any of 20 European and Asian languages. The web site managers point out they cannot guarantee that a file is 100 percent safe if the scan does not find any problems, but any virus that escapes detection by 32 anti-viral programs would have to be something very unusual.

This service is generating considerable controversy between users and producers. As you might expect, a number of makers of anti-viral software are rather upset about the free scans and some have taken legal action to try and block the site from using their software. Trend Micro’s software, for example, was recently removed from the list of programs used by VirusTotal for their scans.

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