Is That Email Attachment Clean or Infected with some Virus ?

Say you have received a suspicious looking file as an email attachment that may or may not be infected with a virus.

If that email is from some unknown source, you are very likely to delete it immediately but what do you do if that file attachment has come from a friend or a trusted colleague ?

Simple, use email. Here’s what you can do to make sure that the attached file is safe and won’t harm your computer:

1. Forward that email message with the file attachment intact to (limit is 10 MB)

2. Write SCAN in the Subject field of the forwarded message and delete the full body of the message. Send.

3. You should receive a virus report in the next few minutes.

The advantage of using Virustotal is that it doesn’t require you to download the file attachment to your computer and best of all, it scans your file across multiple antivirus software including AVG, Nod32, McAfee, F-Prot, etc so the chances are very high that infected email attachments will never go undetected.

If you have a file on the hard drive, upload that to via web browser and wait as this free service analyzes your file using different antivirus services.

Gmail doesn’t allow executable file attachments (including .bat, .exe, .pif, .scr, .vbs, .cmd, .com and others) so here’s a workaround - Send Any File Type with Gmail.

Remember that VirusTotal will only detect the virus in your files, it won’t clean the infected files. For cleaning, refer to a previous story - The Best Anti Virus Software (online).

Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


Awards & Titles

Digital Inspiration has won several awards since it's launch in 2004.

Google Developer Expert

Google Developer Expert

Google awarded us the Google Developer Expert award recogizing our work in Google Workspace.

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

Our Gmail tool won the Lifehack of the Year award at ProductHunt Golden Kitty Awards in 2017.

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft awarded us the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for 5 years in a row.

Google Cloud Champion

Google Cloud Champion

Google awarded us the Champion Innovator title recognizing our technical skill and expertise.

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