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    What Is Google's VirusTotal?

    Google's VirusTotal

    VirusTotal, a subsidiary of Google, is a free online tool that analyzes files and URLs to detect viruses, worms, trojans, and other forms of malware. It was launched in 2004 by a Spanish company called Hispasec Sistemas and was acquired by Google in 2012.

    The tool allows anyone to upload a file or submit a URL. An online scanner will then detect if there’s any malware and then automatically share those findings with the security community. 

    Read on to learn more about how this site can help you. 


    This newer Google software is a free service that scans through suspicious files (up to 550 MB) or URLs for any malicious content that may be of danger to you, your PC, network, and other devices. Anyone can upload a file or submit a link to the website to check if any of the built-in scanners tag it as harmful. 

    Even though the site is designed to protect us from hackers, it also gives hackers a chance to tweak and fcheck their code before it bypasses the site's array of antivirus tools.

    How It Works

    In addition to the numerous tools used to extract signals from content uploaded by the user, the product uses over 70 antivirus scanners and URL blacklisting services to look for any malware that your locally installed antivirus software might have missed out on.

    • A VirusTotal scan has the ability to scan any file that you wish to upload for analysis, be it a Windows executable file, Android APK, PDF, image, javascript code, and others. It’s important to note that the file size can’t exceed 550 MB
    • It’ll store the history of the files and links submitted by users. This means that you can search for a report using the hash of the file that you’re interested in. This way, you can get access to pointed data with respect to the scans performed. Simultaneously, it can be used as a way of identifying false positives, i.e. harmless items detected as malicious by one or more antivirus scanners
    • Upon submitting a file or URL, the post-scan results are sent to the submitter and the examining partners, who’ll use them to improve their systems. By submitting files and URLs via a VirusTotal upload, you’re significantly contributing to an increase in the global security level. This cycle keeps the signature database of malicious content intact and updated
    • The VirusTotal community is probably the best feature. Here, you’ll find a network that allows thousands of users to leave their comments and share their notes on various files and URLs

    Products And Services

    As mentioned, the website uses over 70 different antivirus engines for scanning and detecting malware in files uploaded by the submitter. Some of these engines are very familiar to the typical user such as Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Norman Antivirus, and Sophos. 

    • VirusTotal for Browsers: There are extensions available for several browsers, such as VTzilla for Mozilla Firefox, VTchromizer for Google Chrome, and VTexplorer for Internet Explorer. These extensions allow the user to download files and URLs directly with the web application before storing them safely on a computer or device
    • VirusTotal for Mobiles: This service also offers an Android app to keep your phone secure. With the help of the public API, the user can search any previously installed application for the previously scanned instances and see its report status
    • Public Application Program Interface: This is a free service where the submitter can upload and scan files and URLs, assess the finished scanned reports, and make comments on the various URLs and samples available. Signing up to the network, which already consists of over half a million users, will ease restrictions on several features such as low priority scan queues, a limited number of requests per time frame, and more
    • Windows Uploader: The Windows uploader application was discontinued in the year 2017, but it had a number of great functions. It had the ability to integrate directly into the explorer and scan web content automatically. It also created different hashes for scanned files and maintained the record to make the scanning process more efficient

    Bottom Line

    Google's VirusTotal is a welcome solution to one of the greatest concerns of our era: data security. At times, the antivirus that’s installed on your device may show false positives or overlook any new signatures of malware. Fortunately, you can employ VirusTotal to validate this information. 

    The sophisticated functions of this application can help tackle one of the most dangerous digital threats out there, which ultimately benefits individuals, organizations, and governments around the world alike.