A Cool (and Free!) Way to Scan for Malware

Here’s a really cool way to scan your system for malware using 57 (!!) anti-malware definitions. This is a great way to find something on a PC that is “down”.

(Note: It will only scan processes that are currently running, but that’s enough to cover most threats).

First, I’ll step you through the process, and then I’ll give you a link to a video that walks you through it.

Step 1: Download Sysinternals Process Explorer from Microsoft. The page looks like this:

Click on the download link on the right side of the page

Browse to your download folder and open the zip file. Click on the procexp file, which is an application.

I suggest you click on Extract All and save to your desktop so you can run it any time. Or you can just click Run. When the app is run, the following screen will come up.

Pretty cool, huh? You can look at everything that’s currently running on your PC. It’s similar to some of the more advanced options available in Task Manager, but the presentation is much cleaner, I think.

Now, let’s do a virus and malware check.

VirusTotal.com is a repository of malware definitions from many different sources. Since different virus and malware engines can have a different set of definitions, it just makes sense to check most or all of them if possible. So, let’s do that.

In the Process Explorer toolbar, click on Options. In the dropdown, click on VirusTotal.com. Then, when the mousover window comes up, click on Submit Unknown Executables. You may have to accept the terms from VirusTotal.com to continue.

In the VirusTotal column, you may see the message “Hash submitted” for each process. Eventually, that column will change to something like this:

What those numbers mean: Zero of 56 possible problems were found for that process. Up to 57 virus/malware definitions may be checked for each process. The fewest I’ve seen listed is 41.

If you see one in red, like what I see below, you should probably check it out. I can see that one was found for Filezilla.

I clicked on the 1/55 link and went to the definition at VirusTotal.com

As you can see, according to VirusTotal.com, it is apparently harmless. It might be a false positive, so I’m not too worried about it. If I saw something like “5/57” I might be concerned. If I saw something higher than that, I definitely would freak out.

So, there you have it. A quick (takes less than 5 minutes) way to make sure your PC is safe. I would do this every once in awhile just to be sure your antivirus and/or anti-malware software is doing it’s job.

This tip originally came from this article on InfoWorld. That where you can find the video that steps you through the installation and usage.

Until next time…

 

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