Sometimes we find a suspicious looking file on our computer and want to know if it is malicious in nature. You can scan it with your installed antivirus software but it may not detect it possibly because its virus definitions do not contain signatures for that malware. What you can do in this case, is to scan that file online using the Metascan Online service which scans your uploaded file against multiple antivirus engines with latest virus definitions. This way you can find out whether that suspicious file on your hard disk is harmless or a security threat.
Metascan is an online service similar to VirusTotal which helps you scan a file using multiple antivirus engines. According to Metascan – no single antivirus solution is perfect and may omit detection of some of the malware. The same malware can be detected by some other antivirus which itself may overlook another kind of virus. But when you scan a file with multiple antivirus engines, the probability of detection failures or false detection is reduced drastically. Metascan currently uses 31 different antivirus engines to scan the uploaded files.
If you want to scan a suspicious file, just point your browser to Metascan Online website. There you would find a Select file button after clicking on which you can browse and select a suspicious file on your system. You can choose files upto a maximum of 40 megabytes in size. In general, it is believed that malware seldom infect larger size files, so files over 40 megabytes can be treated as harmless unless they are self-extracting or archive files which may contain other files inside them.
After choosing a file, you can click on the big blue Metascan your file button to start uploading and scanning that file. It may be possible that the same file was uploaded by someone else before – in that case, it would show you previous results. But you can also ask it to re-scan the uploaded file. After a few seconds you would find that the results are being dynamically updated for each antivirus. When the scanning is finished for all antivirus engines, you would see a big circular notification showing how many antivirus engines detected the uploaded file as a threat.
If you see only one or two antivirus engines detecting it as threat, then it is possibly a false detection and you do not have to worry about it. But if you see more and more antivirus engines showing it as malware, then you should quickly remove it from your system, scan your system using an online antivirus scanner and removal service like the one offered by ESET Antivirus and seek professional help.
Metascan is actually an API for developers that allows them to develop applications with metascan multiple-antivirus-scanning ability. The Metascanner Online scan is a demonstration of its capabilities. But of course, everyone can use this to scan suspicious looking files. Even if you have an antivirus product installed on your system, you can always have a second opinion about the files you suspect using Metascan Online scanner. You can visit Metascan web site at http://www.metascan-online.com/.