Firefox Only: Easily scan files for malware before downloading them with VTzilla

We have all heard of VirusTotal, right? (You know,, the website that allows users to run files through 43 anti-malware scanners.) VirusTotal is a very handy service, but in order to use VT (VirusTotal) you need to download a file, then upload it on VT. Ever wish you were able to scan a file with VT before you download it? Well now you can (assuming you have Firefox).

VT has released an add-on for Firefox that allows users to scan files with VirusTotal without having to download the file:

When users opt to scan a file with VirusTotal, two things happen:

  • The URL of the website which you are downloading the file from is scanned using VT’s new “URL scanner”:

(Click on image to view in full size.)

  • The file is uploaded onto and scanned:

(Click on image to view in full size.)

To try to get users to make use of their new URL scanner, VirusTotal has programmed VTzilla in such a way that when scanning a file, users are first displayed the results of the URL scanner and then have the option to view the results of the file scanner. (Unfortunately there is no way to change this behavior. I hope an option is added in future updates allowing users to view the results of the file scanner first.) To access the file scanner results from the URL scanner results page, click on View downloaded file analysis found on the URL scanner results page:

Other things worth noting regarding VTzilla:

  • VTzilla has the ability to scan URLs, in addition to files (the URL is run through VT’s URL scanner):

  • VTzilla comes with an (annoying) toolbar:

This toolbar allows users to 1) Scan the current website you are surfing [via the URL scanner] 2) Search VirusTotal database/community. However, personally, I find this toolbar to be more annoying than useful. Fortunately, you can turn it off easily by going to “View” -> “Toolbars” and unchecking “VirusTotal Toolbar”. (You may also right-click on the toolbar and uncheck “VirusTotal Toolbar”.)

  • The 20 MB file size limit of still applies to files scanned with VTzilla. Any files over 20 MB will simply not produce file scanner results.
  • VTzilla is a new add-on, so it is not yet available in Firefox’s add-on repository – it must be downloaded directly from Typically it is always a good security measure to only download add-ons from Firefox’s add-on repository, but is a trust source so there should be no issues by downloading directly from VT.

That said, you can download VTzilla from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.0

Supported OS: Any OS that can run Firefox

Special note: VTzilla does not support Firefox 4 Beta yet

VTzilla homepage [direct download]

[via WebWorkerDaily]

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  • Norma

    I’ve been using Virus Total and grabbed this, since you can’t be too careful these days.  I don’t want Firefox 3.6 for the same reason Mark C listed. This addon works fine with my Firefox 3.5.12.  Thanks for the tip Ashraf.
    Sure miss your great reviews on Giveaway of the day.  That was what I looked for first before even thinking of installing the giveaway.

  • Mark C

    This sounds and looks like a worthwhile addon to have,unfortunately it doesn’t run on FF 3.5.11 which is what I use.FF 3.6 does not have the themes I like yet.I’ll be writing to VT about this too.
    Keep up the good work you do Ashraf,this is an awesome site.

  • Josh

    Sounds good if you don’t have decent AV protection, and don’t mind spending the extra time pre-checking downloadable files plus their URLs. Don’t like the toolbar thingie though (regardless of whether you can switch it off or not), so I’ll skip this one.

  • Or just spend some money on decent anti virus like Eset’s NOD32.

  • Old Elmer Fudd

    Interesting software.  For myself, I’ve found that ESET Nod has always been quick to warn me about potential hazards. My Fx addons currently number six, so I’m not inclined to add this one, all things considered.
    That said, it’s probably useful for someone who checks files with VT. Thanks for posting the information.

  • Hi Ashraf,
    Very good find, great tip. Installed it without any problem and feel much safer now! And works a lot quicker than uploading your files every time ) meaning skipping this step most of the time, surfing without condom…)
    Thanks a lot!
    kind regards,