Though a file might appear safe to be downloaded, it might not be safe. And surely, you don’t want to end up with a malicious file on your computer. Relying on antivirus is okay but what if it is unable to detect the problem in the file before you download it.
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t need to be worried because there are many ways to check whether the file that you are about to download is malicious or not.
Try VirusTotal before you download a file
VirusTotal provides online services to see whether the file that you want to download is malicious or not. You need to copy the download link to the file. Please note that we are not talking about the address of the file downloading page.
Step 1: You need to copy the direct link to the file that you want to download. You can get the direct link by right-clicking on the downloading link and then selecting the "Copy link address."
Step 2: Once you have copied the link, open a new tab on your web browser and hit on the search after typing "VirusTotal.com." This is an online tool of Google to search for malicious files.
Step 3: The home page of Virus Total will appear on your screen. Click on "URL" tab and then paste the copied link of the file in the box. Click on the "Search" button or press "Enter" to scan the file.
VirusTotal will download the file from the server that you have specified and will scan it by using different antivirus engines. If someone has recently examined the file that you are about to download, it will also show you the scan results.
How do you know if the file is malicious or not?
Well, after the scan is completed if you are displayed with a message saying "No engines detected this URL," you can go ahead to download the file. This is because the antivirus engines have not detected any problem in the file.
If the file is malicious, you will be displayed a message indicating the number of antivirus engines that have detected a problem in the file.
Though Virus Total indicates whether a file is malicious or not, it is not the perfect tool to carry out the analysis. It is advised that you later scan the file with a good antivirus. Also, you can make the entire scanning procedure easy by integrating the web extension of Virus Total in your browser.