I sometimes receive reports that a site mentioned in this newsletter triggers a "potential malicious software" report in McAfee or one of the other anti-virus and anti-malware testing programs. Most of the time, these reports turn out to be false. Luckily, there is an easy test that is highly accurate.
NOTE: "malware" is an abbreviation for "malevolent software." It refers to viruses, worms, trojan horses, and all other software that is designed to do nasty things to your computer.
Keep in mind that no anti-virus/anti-malware program is perfect. At best, all of them only detect 90% to 95% of the problems.
Even worse, all of the anti-virus and anti-malware programs will occasionally identify so-called problems that are not really problems at all. All the programs will occasionally claim to have identified a virus or other problem when, in fact, no problem exists. These are called "false positives." So, if your program says there is a virus or is a web site with malicious software, keep in mind that it really means there MIGHT be a problem. It is never absolute proof.
I do not trust any single program to "prove" that a site does or does not have a problem. However, I will believe there is a problem when a large number of testing programs report similar results.
Whenever I receive a report of a potential problem, I immediately check the site with VirusTotal, a well-respected web site that uses 28 different malware testing services (none of which are perfect). I trust the collective reports from VirusTotal much more than a report from any one program by itself, as VirusTotal tests with so many different programs. Most of the time, VirusTotal reports there is no identifiable problem. However, if SEVERAL of the programs used by VirusTotal report a problem, then I believe it.
VirusTotal can test individual files or entire web sites.
You can run the same tests yourself by going to https://www.virustotal.com/#url to test an entire site or to https://www.virustotal.com/ to test a single file.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others. Tweet it, share it on Google+, Facebook or on your preferred social network.
Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged, with a few minor restrictions. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you should join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds.
You also might like to leave a comment below.