VirusTotal started off as a website of a Spanish security company but nowadays is run by Alphabet meaning it is closely tied to Google. Google AdWords team will often quote findings for VirusTotal so it is key one understands how it works.
What is VirusTotal?
VirusTotal in its essence is a website that aggregates various antivirus products and scan engines whilst generating their blacklist services results. In their own words:
VirusTotal is free to end users for non-commercial use in accordance with our Terms of Service. Though we work with engines belonging to many different organizations, VirusTotal does not distribute or promote any of those third-party engines. We simply act as an aggregator of information. This allows us to offer an objective and unbiased service to our users.
Key here to remember that it is a free service and an aggregation. They are an indicator of the overall status of your website security.
Why is it important?
Firstly, if your website has been hacked there is a likely scenario that it will also get blacklisted meaning various security providers will mark it as dangerous. This scenario is understandably quite bad for your company’s reputation. VirusTotal will come in handy here to quickly check the situation given it aggregates results of over 100 security blacklists and will allow you to track it over time.
As noted, the Google AdWords team will also based on the results here decide if your ads should or should not run. Therefore it is super important to make sure your website does not show up here.
Given how important it is to keep track of your website reputation, especially if it was hacked, as part of our service we make sure to check your website reputation via VirusTotal and reach out to any security blacklist to request they clear your status. We inform them of our work and that the site is now clean so they can recheck their findings and clear the website’s name.
This can sometimes take some time as it really depends on the support teams of the security blacklists to process the requests, but it is key it is done as web reputation is of utmost importance for any company on the internet.
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