Email File Attachment – How Can You Find Out if it’s Virus Free?


One can’t be to careful these days, when opening an attachment in an email from a “friend” can create all kinds of trouble to your computer and your life.

Everyone does it – seeing an email from a friend or family member you automatically open the attached file, because if it’s from someone you know, it must be okay, right? NOT!!! Yes, most of the time it’s okay to do, but there are times when it just doesn’t feel right, but you’re not sure, so what do you do? Open it? Delete it? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someplace to send the attachment to that will check it out for you and let you know that it’s okay to open?

Well, VirusTotal is just the place to do that.

VirusTotal is a service that analyzes suspicious files and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware detected by antivirus engines:

  • Free, independent service
  • Use of multiple antivirus engines
  • Real-time automatic updates of virus signatures
  • Detailed results from each antivirus engine

You can upload files from your computer, or you can forward that email with the attachment to them for testing. VirusTotal will scan it with over 40 different antivirus engines and will return an email with the results. A note of warning, it could take a few hours for the results to be returned so don’t give into the temptation and open the attachment anyway.

Sending files by email

Create a new message or forward the message with the attachment with  scan@virustotal.com as destination address of your email.

Write SCAN in the Subject field.

  1. Attach the file to be scanned. Such file must not exceed 20 MB in size. If the attached file is larger, the system will reject it automatically.
  2. You will receive an email with a report of the file analysis. Response time will vary depending on the load of the system at the time of placing your request.

If you’re sure that the email and attachment are clean, open away, but if you have any doubt, be safe with VirusTotal (http://www.virustotal.com/)

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