Staying safe online is crucial these days, especially when it comes to our streaming devices like Firesticks and Android TV boxes. Installing unknown apps or files can potentially expose us to malware, spyware, and other viruses.
That‘s why it‘s so important to scan any apps or files before installing them on your device. One of the best ways to do this is with VirusTotal – a free online virus scanner.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to install and use VirusTotal on your Firestick or Android TV device. We‘ll cover:
- What is VirusTotal and how it works
- Step-by-step instructions to install VirusTotal on Firestick and Android TV
- Scanning apps, APKs, and files for malware
- Interpreting scan results
- Best practices for keeping your streaming device secure
Whether you‘re a Firestick expert or Android TV newbie, this guide has got you covered. Let‘s dive in!
What is VirusTotal?
VirusTotal is a free online service that analyzes files and URLs to detect viruses, malware, spyware, and other malicious content. It uses over 70 different antivirus engines and website scanners to provide comprehensive scan results.
The service was created in 2004 by Spanish security researcher Hispasec Sistemas. It was acquired by Google in 2012 and is now owned by Chronicle, a cybersecurity company under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella.
VirusTotal offers both public and private scanning options. Anyone can upload files up to 250MB or enter URLs to be scanned by VirusTotal‘s antivirus engines.
For more advanced users and businesses, VirusTotal offers premium plans with additional features like:
- Unlimited file size uploads
- Faster scan speeds
- Private or customized reports
- Bulk URL and file scanning
- Integrations with other security products
The public VirusTotal interface is completely free and provides robust scanning for personal use. I‘ll be focusing on how to use the public VirusTotal website and mobile app for scanning files and apps on your Firestick or Android TV device.
How Does VirusTotal Work?
VirusTotal utilizes over 70 different antivirus engines and website scanners to analyze files. Here‘s an overview of how it works:
- A file or URL is uploaded to VirusTotal.
- It is scanned by VirusTotal‘s entire collection of antivirus engines and website scanners.
- Results from each engine are aggregated into a report.
- The report shows which engines flagged the file as malicious or suspicious (if any).
- Users can dig into the detailed results from each engine.
- VirusTotal also provides additional metadata like digital signatures, hashes, contact emails, and more.
This layered scanning approach allows VirusTotal to catch viruses and malware that may be missed by just one antivirus engine. Its breadth of detection makes it one of the most comprehensive online virus scanners available.
Is VirusTotal Accurate?
With so many antivirus engines powering VirusTotal‘s scans, it offers very accurate results. There is always a small chance of false positives, but the layered scanning minimizes this risk.
According to VirusTotal, their detection rate for malicious files is over 99%. Their broad detection also helps identify emerging threats faster than a single antivirus engine typically can.
However, VirusTotal should not be the single source of truth when scanning files. Its benefit is providing a second opinion to complement your existing antivirus software. If VirusTotal flags something as malicious, it‘s smart to investigate further and confirm using other tools.
For the best security, use VirusTotal scans as one layer in your overall device protection strategy.
Installing VirusTotal on Firestick
Let‘s dive into how to install VirusTotal on your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
The process involves sideloading the VirusTotal APK using the Downloader app. Don‘t worry if you‘re unfamiliar with sideloading – I‘ll walk through each step.
Here‘s an overview of what we‘ll cover:
- Enabling Apps from Unknown Sources
- Installing the Downloader app
- Downloading the VirusTotal APK file
- Installing VirusTotal from the APK
- Scanning for viruses
Let‘s get started!
Enable Apps from Unknown Sources
By default, Firestick devices are set to block installation of apps from unknown developers. We need to disable this setting:
- From the Firestick home screen, go to Settings.
- Select My Fire TV.
- Choose Developer Options.
- Turn on Apps from Unknown Sources.
This will now allow you to install apps directly from APK files.
Install the Downloader App
To install VirusTotal, we‘ll use an app called Downloader to sideload the APK file:
- From the Firestick home screen, search for "Downloader" and select it.
- Choose Download.
- Once it finishes installing, select Open.
Downloader will be the key to getting VirusTotal onto your device.
Download the VirusTotal APK
Now we can use Downloader to get the VirusTotal APK file:
- In Downloader, click on the browser/URL bar at the top.
- Enter the following URL:
- Select Go to download the APK.
- You‘ll see a popup that the download completed successfully.
Easy as that – we now have the VirusTotal APK downloaded and ready to install.
This last step will get VirusTotal installed and usable on your Firestick:
- In Downloader, click on the VirusTotal APK file in your downloads.
- Select Install.
- After it finishes installing, you can delete the APK file by pressing Delete.
- You‘ll now find the VirusTotal app ready to use!
With VirusTotal installed, let‘s look at how to scan for viruses.
Using VirusTotal on Firestick
Here are the steps to scan a file or app using VirusTotal on your Firestick:
- Open the VirusTotal app.
- Select Scan to start scanning your device.
- It will take 1-2 minutes to fully scan your apps and files.
- Once complete, you can view the detailed report.
- Any items flagged as risky or malicious should be investigated further.
I recommend periodically running a VirusTotal scan on your Firestick to check for anything suspicious. It never hurts to be cautious when it comes to device security.
You can also upload specific APK files manually to scan before installing unknown apps. This is wise to check for any potential malware or viruses being distributed through third-party APKs.
Installing VirusTotal on Android TV
The process to install VirusTotal on an Android smart TV box is quite similar to Firestick.
Here are the steps:
Enable Unknown Sources
- Go to Settings and select Security & Restrictions.
- Turn on Unknown Sources to allow installation from APKs.
Install Downloader App
- Search for "Downloader" on the Google Play Store.
- Install Downloader.
Download VirusTotal APK
- Open Downloader and enter:
- Select Go to download the APK.
- In Downloader, select the VirusTotal APK.
- Choose Install to get VirusTotal onto your device.
Once installed, you can begin scanning for malware just like on the Firestick. Overall, the process is very straightforward on both platforms.
Scanning APKs with VirusTotal
One of the best practices is to scan any APK files before installing apps from unknown sources. Here are the steps to scan an APK with VirusTotal:
- Download the APK you want to scan.
- Open the VirusTotal app on your device.
- Select the folder icon in the top right.
- Choose the APK file to upload.
- VirusTotal will scan the APK and provide a report.
I recommend scanning every APK from third-party websites or unknown developers. This gives you peace of mind that the app isn‘t infected before installing it.
How to Interpret VirusTotal Scan Results
Reading VirusTotal reports takes a bit of practice. Here are some tips:
- 0/70 engines detected – Clean file, safe to use.
- 1-5/70 engines detected – Likely a false positive, but analyze further.
- 5+/70 engines detected – Almost certainly malicious, avoid using.
Click into the full report to understand which specific engines are flagging the file. You can also google the detected threats to learn more about their risks.
Weigh the results along with your own research when deciding if a file is safe or not. VirusTotal catches most malware, but nothing is 100% foolproof.
VirusTotal Mobile App
VirusTotal offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS. These let you scan files and URLs using your smartphone.
The mobile interface is similar to the website with a few key features:
- Upload files from your phone storage
- Scan QR codes
- Dig into scan reports
- Rescan items
- Save reports
The mobile app brings the convenience of VirusTotal scanning to your fingertips anywhere. It‘s available free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Is VirusTotal Safe to Use?
Yes, VirusTotal is safe to use and trusted by security experts worldwide. Here are a few key points:
- Reputable company owned by Google/Alphabet
- Used by cybersecurity professionals
- No software installed locally
- Comprehensive scan results
- Billions of files scanned
VirusTotal poses little privacy risk since you choose which files to upload and scan. It never proactively pulls data from your device.
The service scans items using multiple antivirus engines to provide highly accurate results. It‘s become an industry-standard tool for identifying malware.
VirusTotal is one of the most robust and trusted online virus scanners. But here are a few alternatives you may want to check out:
- Jotti – Scans files using up to 20 antivirus engines.
- Hybrid Analysis – Specialized for scanning malware and suspicious files.
- Metadefender – Offers tools beyond just file scanning.
- VirSCAN – Free custom scanner powered by various antivirus engines.
Most alternatives have limitations compared to VirusTotal like fewer antivirus engines, lower file size limits, or fewer features. But they can provide a second opinion on scanning results.
Other Firestick Security Tips
Using VirusTotal is a great step to secure your Firestick. Here are a few other tips:
- Only install apps from official sources like the Amazon Appstore.
- Use a reputable VPN to encrypt traffic.
- Turn off Automatic App Updates for sideloaded apps.
- Avoid "free" streaming sites which spread malware.
- Factory reset device if you notice suspicious activity.
It‘s also wise to use strong WiFi passwords, disable ADB Debugging when not needed, and update your Firestick software regularly.
Following security best practices will help keep your device safe for streaming.
Scanning Apps with VirusTotal for Peace of Mind
Installing unknown apps always carries some level of risk. VirusTotal scans give you confidence that an app or APK file is malware-free before installing it.
I recommend periodically scanning your Firestick or Android TV box to catch any suspicious software. And be sure to run VirusTotal checks on any sideloaded APK files.
VirusTotal makes it fast and easy to analyze files with over 70 different antivirus engines. Combined with good security habits, it‘s a great tool for protecting your streaming device and data.
The free public interface has all the power needed for personal use. Take advantage of this robust online virus scanner to boost your Firestick or Android TV security!