These days we're often sent links by email, not to mention the plethora of linked content via Twitter and Facebook. But how to know whether the links are benign and will take us to the wonderful world of animals looking ridiculously cute or videos of people doing equally ridiculously foolish things caught on tape? Or is the link hiding more insidious content?
Even friends can unknowingly send us viruses, especially if a link comes from “source unknown”, so we've been erring on the side of caution using a link security service which has given us an extra piece of mind before opening www.mostquestionableURLs.com: VirusTotal.com.
This website is free and user friendly. On the Analysis section of the their website you can choose to upload a file to be checked or submit a url. It will scan the url and detect any viruses or malware, and then issue you with a report.
VirusTotal also offers a free email interface
, which permits users to upload files via email and services up results of the scan back into your mailbox. All you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with SCAN (for a report in plain text) or SCAN+XML (for a report in XML) in the subject field. Attach the file to be analyzed (any files over 20MB will be rejected).
Perhaps overly cautionary, but a useful (and did we mention free) tool for the occasional email that riles up any of your suspicious content 6th sense.