Email Attachments have long been notorious for spreading malware and viruses. Even if you have received an email from your trusted friend, relative or colleague, it is best to exercise caution before opening any email attachment. It is necessary because you never know, when the PC Security of your friend’s computer is compromised by some malware to convert into a botnet and spread malware to all the contacts saved in its own address book.

Scanning the Email Attachments

scan email attachmentModern web based email clients like Gmail have a virus scanning utlity, which scans the email attachments before allowing you to download them. However, if your email client does not has this utility, then you can use a free service, named as Virus Total to scan for malware in your email attachments.

VirusTotal is a service that analyzes suspicious files and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware detected by antivirus engines.

The mail features of Virus Total are that it is

  • Free, independent service
  • Uses of multiple antivirus engines
  • It provides real-time automatic updates of virus signatures
  • It gives detailed results from each antivirus engine
  • It has real time global statistics

Virus Total scans your files with a series of reputed Anti-malware tools. Following is the complete list of the tools used to scan your attachments.

  1. AhnLab (V3)
  2. Antiy Labs (Antiy-AVL)
  3. Aladdin (eSafe)
  4. ALWIL (Avast! Antivirus)
  5. Authentium (Command Antivirus)
  6. AVG Technologies (AVG)
  7. Avira (AntiVir)
  8. Cat Computer Services (Quick Heal)
  9. ClamAV (ClamAV)
  10. Comodo (Comodo)
  11. CA Inc. (Vet)
  12. Doctor Web, Ltd. (DrWeb)
  13. Emsi Software GmbH (a-squared)
  14. Eset Software (ESET NOD32)
  15. Fortinet (Fortinet)
  16. FRISK Software (F-Prot)
  17. F-Secure (F-Secure)
  18. G DATA Software (GData)
  19. Hacksoft (The Hacker)
  20. Hauri (ViRobot)
  21. Ikarus Software (Ikarus)
  22. INCA Internet (nProtect)
  23. K7 Computing (K7AntiVirus)
  24. Kaspersky Lab (AVP)
  25. McAfee (VirusScan)
  26. Microsoft (Malware Protection)
  27. Norman (Norman Antivirus)
  28. Panda Security (Panda Platinum)
  29. PC Tools (PCTools)
  30. Prevx (Prevx1)
  31. Rising Antivirus (Rising)
  32. Secure Computing (SecureWeb)
  33. BitDefender GmbH (BitDefender)
  34. Sophos (SAV)
  35. Sunbelt Software (Antivirus)
  36. Symantec (Norton Antivirus)
  37. VirusBlokAda (VBA32)
  38. Trend Micro (TrendMicro)
  39. VirusBuster (VirusBuster)

How to Scan Your Files with Virus Scan

There are two ways.

If the file, you want to scan, is available on your computer, then you can directly upload that file with the help of your web browser by going on the Virus Total site.

But many times, popular email clients like Gmail do not allow you to download certain file types like .exe, bat, .pif, .scr etc. to your hard disk. There may also be times, when you do not want to download the file on your computer. In such cases, you can send the file through the email also to Virus Total for scanning. You just have to send the file as an attachment to and write the word “SCAN” in the subject field.

They will automatically scan the attachment and send the report back within a few minutes, depending upon the server load.

A nice utility, to be used, when you are in doubt.

But remember, it only scans the files and attachments, it doesn’t clean them. You want to take a look at some of the best portable antivirus applications for virus cleaning.