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Have you ever used VirusTotal.com? What have been your experiences? Have you found it to be accurate? How about detection of malicious .pdf, .doc, .ppt, etc. files? About what percentage of positive detections would lead you to believe the file is truly a problem?

It seems as though they are offer a pretty good service and many convenient ways to send them a file.

EDIT: This is a 100% legitimate question, please do not close it. I have marked it as a CW.

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closed as not constructive by random, Gnoupi, Phoshi, Diago Feb 5 '10 at 15:25

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Super User is not about rating website services. –  random Feb 5 '10 at 14:33
    
as this is a poll type of question which doesn't have a single best answer, please mark it "community wiki". –  ax. Feb 5 '10 at 14:42
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This question is not computer related. Please review the FAQ (superuser.com/faq) about the kind of questions you can ask in here. Questions about specific websites are not allowed here. (It is not about the rating/opinion, simply about the fact that you ask about something not covered by this site). –  Gnoupi Feb 5 '10 at 14:54
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Do you realize the hypocrisy going on? Or do you just not care? So, I can recommend a website to solve a computer problem but I cannot ask how a website does/performs to solve a computer problem? That doesn't make any sense... Since software is clearly moving towards a "web" based version, what's the difference? So if this service was made available as an executable it would be okay? –  rodey Feb 5 '10 at 15:06
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@rodey. To clear up the reason for closing the question: You asked for opinions. SU is not a discussion forum, it's a Q&A site expecting high quality answers to computer problems. Therefore, your question is not valid material for SU. This is all clearly defined in the FAQ. –  Diago Feb 5 '10 at 15:26

1 Answer 1

Virustotal is not a scanning service; it's a meta-service, allowing you to see what other scanning engines make of a file.

As such it's totally accurate in telling you what other virus scanners think of a file, but that doesn't mean the virus scanners themselves are accurate. In fact that's why services like this are useful: because a single virus scanner isn't generally very accurate, you can get a better picture by looking at what all the major scanners say together.

If they all agree a file is problematic, and especially if they all give it a similar name, then you've probably got a well-known virus. If only a few of them reckon the file's bad, and they're detecting it with woolly heuristics and generic “we don't really know what this does” names like Delf, Small, Troj and so on, then they're just as likely false positive.

(However, in the sorry condition that is today's AV environment, even when the majority of AVs agree a file is clean or not-clean, they can still very easily be wrong.)

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