A Comprehensive List of Free Online Anti-Virus Tools

Updated: April 30, 2009

This is the first in IT Security's periodic list of free security tools. Be aware that these are by no means all the anti-virus tools on the market. For example, this list does not include major anti-virus vendors that provide paid individual and enterprise solutions. However, that does not mean that the included anti-virus tools are not worthwhile — the best of them are as good as paid programs. In the interest of listing tools that can help in a moment of crisis, this list only includes tools that can detect, clean, remove or neutralize viruses. There are also tools to scan a local hard drive, as well as those that can accept a single uploaded file and indicate whether it is infected with a virus. Of course, if a file is small, an easy way to check it for a virus is to send it to yourself via a free email service like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail or Hotmail, which scan all file attachments.

Wherever possible, this list includes just those sites that are the originator and main site for that particular engine. Some online anti-virus scanners have private-labeled their engines to third parties, but these engines are not always up-to-date or as good as the original.

In the future, IT Security will compile a list of free downloadable antivirus tools.

A-squared : The A-squared malware scanner looks for for Trojan horses , backdoors, worms, dialers, spyware /adware, keyloggers , rootkits, hacking tools, riskware and tracking cookies. However, it only works inside IE (Internet Explorer) with ActiveX controls enabled.

BitDefender Scan8 Online : BitDefender is a complete online anti-virus scanner that appears in a new window. It requires IE to function.

Command On Demand Scanner : Another straightforward online virus scanner that requires IE and ActiveX controls.

The ESET Online Scanner : This online antivirus scanner from ESET also requires ActiveX and IE.

Computer Associates CA Anti-Virus : The free online version of CA 's anti-virus program requires ActiveX and IE.

Ewido Networks Anti-Spyware : Ewido Networks has an online anti-spyware scanner that is a predecessor to AVG Anti-Virus; it also requires IE and ActiveX.

Freedom Online Virus Check : One of the very few online scanners that works with both Firefox and IE. Firefox users will need to install a Java-based scanner, while IE users will need to activate ActiveX controls The service's engine is based on the F-Prot scanner.

F-Secure Online Scanner : Another scanner that requires IE and ActiveX. It also checks for rootkits.

Panda ActiveScan : Based on the popular Panda virus scanner, the online version also requires IE and ActiveX.

Windows Live OneCare : Microsoft 's online virus scanner is based around its new Windows Live technology — and yes, this service too is only compatible with Internet Explorer with ActiveX controls enabled.

Trend Micro HouseCall : A smarter online scanner than most, Trend Micro 's solution detects browsers and installs the appropriate piece of code needed, whether it's Java or ActiveX. The service is based on TrendMicro's popular anti-virus engine.

Note that leading anti-virus vendors McAfee Inc . and Symantec Corp . have rich online scanning tools, but these services do not actually remove detected threats.

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