Many software can have a Virus, Trojan, Spyware and the like which can end up causing damage to your computer and stealing your personal information to send it over to the developer of the malware. Key loggers for instance are often embedded in so called free software. A key logger records your keyboard strokes which can then be sent over to the malware creator secretly via the internet so that he may be able to acquire your passwords, credit card information, etc by analyzing the key strokes.
VirusTotal is a a free online service which provides a solution to this problem. It allows you to analyzes suspicious files and URLs enabling the identification of viruses, worms, Trojans and other kinds of malicious agents. It scans a specified file with the best ant-virus software and gives you a comprehensive report regarding the trust worthiness of the scanned content.
To Scan a file go to www.virustotal.com and select a file to scan. The file can be a simple executable or even a compressed file. Click Send File to begin scanning the software for viruses.
This will start uploading the selected file for analysis.
If the file has already been scanned earlier by someone, you will be presented with the option to either view the previous scan report or to reanalyze the file for scanning.
During the scanning process VirusTotal uses several well known scanners to scan the file such as Avast, AVG, BitDefender, Comodo, F-Secure, GData, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, VIPRE and many more. The scanning process does not take very long as most executable files are not very heavy in size.
Below is a scan result of a software which was clean. As you can see, the result from multiple virus scanners is being displayed for the scanned application. In the below result no malware was found after scanning was performed using 44 different scanners. The result from each individual scanner is also displayed below the conclusive result. Websites can be scanned the same way (from the Submit URL tab) by entering the URL of the website that is to be scanned.
So if you want to make sure that a software or website is free of malicious content, then scan it with VirusToTal.