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06 August 2007, 15:23

Free Eset online virus scanner

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Eset, vendor of the NOD32 antivirus product , is set to finalise the beta testing of its online virus scanner and release the final version today. The ActiveX-based online virus scanner is said to be compatible with Internet Explorer version 5 and above and can allegedly scan computers for all kinds of malware and also remove any infections found.

ESET Online Scanner
Eset's online virus scanner checks the system for malware and optionally removes discovered infections.

From the web page users can install the 15 MBytes of free software in Internet Explorer. Modem users will, therefore, have to exercise a little patience. Before scanning, the online scanner asks the user whether any malware found is to be removed and whether the scan is to include potentially unwanted applications. There are no other configuration options.

The online virus scanner does its work swiftly. According to Eset, it uses NOD32 detection technology to detect both known and unknown forms of malware. In the latest c't virus scanner test, NOD32 fared particularly well because of its good heuristic search.

Numerous antivirus vendors offer online virus scanners for the web browser. It is generally advisable to scan a system occasionally for malware infection with an on-demand scanner from a different supplier than the installed antivirus product. The installed scanner may have missed a malware infection, due, for example, to its signatures being insufficiently current.

However, security experts have sometimes found vulnerabilities in ActiveX-based online scanners which allow arbitrary code to be injected into systems via manipulated web pages. Online virus scanners by Panda, CA and Symantec have all been affected. Therefore, ActiveX- based scan software should be uninstalled after the system has been scanned, which in the case of Eset can be done in the control panel via the relevant product entry in the software manager.

If you prefer not to use an ActiveX-based online virus scanner you can try one of the on-demand alternatives offered by several antivirus vendors. Trend Micro, for example, offers HouseCall, a Java-based product which runs under both Windows and Linux. Trend Micro's Damage Cleanup Engine ( works completely without web browser or installation by using a current pattern file which contains the signatures database. ClamWin is another scanner which operates purely on-demand and can be used for obtaining a second opinion when a malware infection is suspected. The free edition of Bitdefender also only installs an on-demand virus scanner.


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