VirusTotal is a web service that provides the capability to scan files and URLs for potential malware or other security threats. It aggregates multiple antivirus engines and online scanners to check files and websites against a wide range of signatures and detection methods. Here are some key aspects of VirusTotal:

  1. File and URL Scanning: Users can upload files or provide URLs to VirusTotal, which then checks them against various antivirus engines and other security tools. This helps in detecting and identifying potential threats.
  2. Multiple Antivirus Engines: VirusTotal integrates with numerous antivirus engines and security solutions. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, it includes contributions from over 70 antivirus vendors.
  3. Community Contributions: Users can contribute to VirusTotal by submitting files and URLs for analysis. This collaborative approach helps in building a comprehensive database of known threats.
  4. Scanning Methods: VirusTotal uses various scanning methods, including signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, and behavioral analysis, to identify malicious content. The combination of multiple engines and methods enhances the accuracy of threat detection.
  5. Public API: VirusTotal provides a public API (Application Programming Interface) that allows developers to integrate VirusTotal’s services into their applications or security solutions.
  6. Reports and Information: VirusTotal generates detailed reports for scanned files and URLs. These reports include information about the detected threats, the engines that flagged them, and additional context about the file or URL.
  7. User Interface: The VirusTotal website provides an easy-to-use interface for users to submit files or URLs and view analysis results.

“We are aware of the unintentional distribution of a small segment of customer group administrator emails and organization names by one of our employees on the VirusTotal platform,” a Google Cloud spokesperson told The Hacker News.

We removed the list from the platform within an hour of its posting and we are looking at our internal processes and technical controls to improve our operations in the future.”