We are all familiar with the common idiom – closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Or, crying over spilled milk. Both accurately describe a virus cleanup operation after the virus has run amok.
It’s true that a good anti-virus is designed to stop a malware in its tracks before it gets triggered. A firewall and a good anti-virus form the first line of defense. But wouldn’t you surf more peacefully if you had a few more deterrents on your hard disk?
Dr.Web LinkChecker is a browser add-on for Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer. It is a small tool for a big task; a way to scan files before download in order to protect yourself from potential virus threats. How often do we visit not-so-above board sites, torrents and file sharing sites for a juicy download? I get especially suspicious when the download size doesn’t quite match up with the nature of the software. Usually suspicion wins.
These days a lot many anti-virus solutions scan files on the fly without saving them locally. For instance, avast! has its Web Shield and AVG comes with its proprietary AVG LinkScanner.
Using Dr.Web LinkChecker, you can actively (but manually) scan files before download begins with just a right click. The added protection integrates with the browser’s right click menu and scans the link on Dr. Web’s servers with the most up-to-date version of the Dr.Web scanner and the latest updates of the virus definitions database.
Here’s how it works in Mozilla Firefox (and Thunderbird)”¦
- Download Dr.Web LinkChecker from the Mozilla add-ons gallery or the Dr.Web website.
- Install as you would any other add-on and restart the browser.
- For any download link, right click and choose Scan with Dr.Web. Dr.Web takes a few seconds to a few minutes to scan the file before download against its online database.
- The post scan report gives a summary of the results and a visual notification – Green for a clean file and red for an infected one.
Here’s how it works in Internet Explorer.
- Go to the download page for MS Internet Explorer.
- Download registry file drweb-online-ru.reg from the language choice among the seven given.
- Double-click the file and confirm to add it to the registry.
- Restart Internet Explorer and use with a right-click on a download link.
Here’s how it works in Opera.
- Opera integration is slightly more arduous as you need to edit an Opera configuration file.
- From Windows Explorer go to Opera’s default directory under C:\Program Files\Opera\defaults. The defaults folder is the location for all of Opera’s configuration files.
- Open and edit (using Notepad) the standard_menu.ini configuration file.
- The sections – [Link Popup Menu], [Document Popup Menu] and [Image Link Popup Menu] need to be edited with an item entry pointing to Dr.Web’s online scanner. The detailed instructions can be found here.
Note: In the snapshot, I have used Notepad2 as the text editor.
- A Scan Link with Dr.Web gets integrated in the right-click menu.
As a pre-emptive bullet quick online scanner which can be used with three popular browsers, Dr. Web is a handy add-on. Dr. Web’s anti-virus solutions have existed since 2003. So it is fair to assume that they follow the products with constant virus definition updates as the site itself claims.
Maybe, the main chink is that the anti-virus scans files limited to a maximum of 12MB. As a featherweight solution, it could fill an important role of the third line of defense after the firewall and the principal anti-virus.
But a real test of an anti-virus solution comes with detection rates and that too over a long period. Do you use Dr.Web to scan files before you download them? Do you think that this can add-on to your main anti-virus solution?