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JHC Technology is a Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business based in the Washington, DC Metro area. Our primary focus is to offer customized solutions and IT consulting to our Commercial and Government clients. Our experts have a broad experience delivering and managing Microsoft Enterprise applications and Cloud and Virtualization Solutions, as well as mobilizing Enterprise data.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Antivirus vs Antivirus

Do you have right Antivirus/Antimalware installed on your computer?
How many times have you received an email from someone you knew, but something about the email didn’t seem quite right? You shouldn’t trust everything you get from anyone. If you have been using a computer for sometime, you should be very well aware that having some type of antivirus is a must on your system. You should also keep that antivirus up-to-date.

How do you know you have the best and does it matter?
When it comes to antivirus, choice matters. A rule of thumb is to stick with the big boys, but they can be costly. Not all antivirus software are created equal and free doesn’t always mean better, just as expensive doesn’t always mean it will function with superiority. You should take the time to do some research on reliability, customer support and how often their product is updated.

Am I completely safe after installing antivirus software?
Once you have an antivirus installed you are ready to start scanning anything that comes in via e-mail or Internet downloads for any type of media. Your antivirus says everything is clear. More often than not, your antivirus may give you the green light, however, antivirus are not always perfect.

Chances are you may have heard of a buzzword such as zero-day. Zero-day is basically a geeky term to call a virus that may not be detected by many antivirus applications. Wouldn’t you like to have multiple antivirus applications installed on your system to cover as many types of malicious files? Unfortunately, installing more than one antivirus on a computer may cause you quite a bit of trouble. That type of software does not play well with others alike.

It’s like the old saying about oil and vinegar or better yet, it’s like beer and liquor…never been sicker. Well, having Antivirus Brand 1 and Antivirus Brand 2 installed on your system is like that. They could wreak havoc on your computer to render it useless or extremely frustrating.

Can I scan my files with multiple antivirus software that I don't need to install on my system?

Here is my tip to help you out get a better "warm fuzzy".

First, understand I am not asking you remove your antivirus installed on your computer. You need something on your system to keep you safe and you need to make sure you are keeping it up to date.

Modern day full antivirus suites scan e-mail automatically, as well as files downloaded from the Internet. I recommend keeping all foreign files in a specific folder until they have been vetted. Make sure your antivirus scans the files in that folder.

Now it’s time to scan a file with multiple scanners at the same time.

1. Virustotal (http://virustotal.com)

Open up your favorite browser and navigate to http://virustotal.com.

Click on the Choose File button and a window should pop up. Navigate to your folder where you are keeping the files in question and select 1. Finally, click the Scan It! button.

Please note that Virustotal may say it scanned a file already, but just to be on the safe side tell it to scan it again.

You should see a small window saying "file uploading". Soon after it’s done you will see that the "file is being analyzed". Right below that you will see the results trickle in. You will also notice that it is using several antivirus engines to scan your files.

It will display the antivirus brand followed by the scan result and date. That date is when that Antivirus was updated. Note that they are kept fairly up to date.

Virustotal uses about 47 different scanners. If these 47 scanners are still not enough for you, you can also try a couple of other websites that practically do the same thing.  In addition to scanning files, Virustotal also has the capability to scan URL links.

2. Jotti (http://Virusscan.jotti.org/en)

Jotti is another site just like Virustotal. Open up your browser, and go to http://virusscan.jotti.org/en:

Jotti, unlike Virustotal, lets you know up front what the server load is like. This is good if the server shows that there is a heavy load and you will have to wait or just go to another site.

The results page is simple and easy to read and also includes dates of updates and color coded font with its results.

3. Metascan (www.metascan-online.com)

Metascan uses 42-43 scanners and the results page is very similar to Virustotal and Jotti.


By using these three different options for scanning for viruses for viruses on your files you won't have to install or pay for additional software to do so. However, it is important to note that these sites are useful for scanning files only.  In addition, using these websites depends on having Internet access. Thus,  having an antivirus/antimalware scanner installed on your system is a must. Many of these applications also monitor your system memory and behavior.

Here is another link to another site, but it is not as simple as the others. However, you do have several options. If you feel comfortable give it a try:  http://anubis.iseclab.org/?action=advanced_form

Scan, be safe and prosper!

Ernesto Fuller is the Senior Security Administrator for JHC Technology.  He can be reached at efuller (at) jhctechnology.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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