Monday, November 28, 2005

Free Online Virus Scanning Services

In addition to all of the other weapons in your anti-virus arsenal, you should include the URL (uniform resource locator; web address) of an online virus-scanning service. These services offer several benefits, not the least of which is their ability to offer a sound second opinion. A quick visit to one of these sites is all it takes to verify whether your anti-virus utility is doing its job. For this reason, we suggest that you find a way to work at least one of these free resources into your regular virus-fighting routine.

(NOTE: Most of these programs must download and install a small program to your PC before they can initialize a scan. The download is safe. Go ahead and give it your approval so that you can get started.)

Freedom Online Virus CheckZero-Knowledge Systems
http://www.freedom.net/viruscenter/onlineviruscheck.html
Freedom Online Virus Check lets you select which folder and drives you want to scan for viruses and gives you the option of scanning compressed files. Although it can identify infected files, it cannot clean them.

HouseCallTrend Micro
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
Unlike most other virus-scanning services, HouseCall from Trend Micro lets you use it without registering your name or email address (the same is true of Symantec Security Check). You can use HouseCall to scan specific drives and folders. You also can set it to clean any infected files it finds.

Panda ActiveScan Panda Software
http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/activescan-com.asp
The Panda ActiveScan is quite impressive, not only detecting the presence of malicious code but also removing the code from infected files. Panda updates the software daily, so you know it’s current.

RAV Anti-virus Online Virus Scan GeCAD Software
http://www.ravanti-virus.com/scan
This virus-scanning service from GeCAD Software both detects and disinfects viruses in any drive or folder on your system. Because it uses the Microsoft ActiveX technology, you must have Internet Explorer 4.0 or later to use this virus scanning service.

Symantec Security Check Symantec
http://security.norton.com/ssc
Symantec Security Check automatically scans every file on your PC but cannot clean the infections it finds. As a result, this scanning service is slow and, if your PC is infected, an incomplete solution. Nevertheless, it’s worth a try if for no other reason than it comes from the biggest name in computer maintenance. And like HouseCall from Trend Micro, Symantec Security Check doesn’t require you to register your name or email address just to use it.