Online Virus Scanners & Removers
I hate to tell you this, but there are nearly zero online virus scanners. The majority of them are only trial versions of paid applications, lots of them do not actually do anything, and a number of them are phishing sites attempting to steal your information or convince you to download malware. Luckily, there are a couple of really helpful online cybersecurity tools, and a couple of one-time downloads that can really help you clean up your computer.
There are two types of tools online:
- Vulnerability scanners can ensure that your program’s native protections are current.
- Free downloadable virus scanners that can scan your entire computer for malware.
How I Ranked the Top 5 Free Online Virus Scanners:
Ease of Use. I have tested all of these cybersecurity tools to be certain they’re easy to use and will not clutter your computer with bloatware or annoying alarms.
Usefulness. It is true — many of the free online virus scanners are useless. Everything on this list either scans and removes malware or offers you useful information that will assist you to protect your computer.
Efficiency. One reason I was looking for quality online antivirus scanners was that my computer simply could not handle the strain of another CPU-intensive program. All these cybersecurity products are super lightweight and will not over-burden your computer.
Price. All these products are 100% free. They don’t conceal their performance behind a paywall, like a lot of supposedly “free antivirus” tools do.
Do online virus scanners actually work?
Frankly, the answer is no and yes. When there are a few decent antivirus scanners hosted online, they do not have the exact same performance as a downloadable antivirus program. They cannot scan your entire system for antiviruses and eliminate them from the computer like antivirus software. It’s simply not possible for a site to get into your computer in that manner.
Are there sites that can remove viruses from my computer?
No. Antivirus software has to be downloaded and given consent to erase files from your computer. Any website that’s claiming to eliminate viruses from your computer has been dishonest. That is why I advocated Norton’s Power Eraser — it is a free, easy download that could detect and destroy adware and malware on your computer.
How should I know if I can trust a virus scanner?
There are a whole lot of fake cybersecurity companies seeking to profit from your data. I added big, reputable companies like Bitdefender and Norton on this list since they have a long history of respecting data privacy for their millions of global users. VirusTotal discloses their business model in their homepage — they have the ability to give free antivirus scanning since they’re paid by cybersecurity organizations to collect information on international malware trends.
In a nutshell, all of the products listed here can be trusted 100%.
What is the difference between an antivirus scanner and a vulnerability scanner?
Antivirus scanners look for known parts of code in executable files — the “DNA” of a virus. A vulnerability scanner is designed to analyze your applications — whether it is your browser, OS, or a different program — to make certain that your systems are up-to-date with the most recent security protections. For that, you will require a downloadable antivirus.