How to scan Google Drive for viruses

Ivan Jenic By: Ivan Jenic
4 minute read

Cloud is the future. This way of storing files is becoming more popular every year. It’s perfect for keeping your files safe, and saving memory on your devices.

Google Drive is arguably the most popular cloud storage service on the market. Millions of users choose to use it due to its simplicity, great features, and security. However, Google Drive is one of the most popular targets among hackers.

Because of that, a lot of people are actually worried about their security in Google Drive, and are looking for an additional layer of security. Unfortunately, there are no antivirus programs that are fully integrated with Google Drive yet. In other words, users can’t just perform a regular virus scan of all their cloud-stored files.

However, there are a few ways to scan your files for viruses, using a couple of alternative methods. To find out how to provide some extra security to your Google Drive account, keep reading this article.

How to protect Google Drive from viruses

Google Drive does the job for you

As we mentioned, Google Drive is fairly secure. The service has its own antivirus system, where it scans every single uploaded file for malicious content. The scan is performed on absolutely every type of file users upload, so there’s no way a certain file is skipped.

But there’s a catch: Google performs the scan only on smaller files, more precisely on files smaller than 25MB. If you’re uploading and sharing a larger file, you’re going to be warned that file wasn’t scanned, and it might contain some malicious content. Here’s what Google’s support page says:

“Google Drive scans a file for viruses before the file is downloaded or shared. If a virus is detected, users can’t share the file with others, send the infected file via email, or convert it to a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide, and they’ll receive a warning if they attempt these operations. The owner can download the virus-infected file, but only after acknowledging the risk of doing so.

Only files smaller than 25 MB can be scanned for viruses. For larger files, a warning is displayed saying that the file can’t be scanned.”

So, if you’re dealing with smaller files, you should have no worries, because Google Drive alone is enough to keep your files safe. But if you’re downloading larger files from Google Drive, you might want to put it through some additional security measures.

Use VirusTotal

For scanning larger files, perhaps the best solution is to use VirusTotal. This tool is an online malware checker, that will scan just about any link you want. The tool uses over 40 security tools, so the protection rate is quite high. To scan your files with VirusTotal, all you need to do is to paste the link on the website, and the tool will do the rest for you.

virustotal google drive

Once the link is scanned, VirusTotal will give you in-depth analysis of the file. So, you can determine whether it’s safe for downloading or not. The tool is free, so you can use it for scanning as many links and files as you want. There’s also no registration needed, which is another benefit of this tool. Besides scanning links, you can also upload files from your computer, and VirusTotal will perform the scan.

VirusTotal is a great solution for scanning Google Drive files, but unfortunately, you’ll have to scan every single file manually, as the tool doesn’t support Google Drive integration.

Scan for viruses on your computer

If you already have an antivirus software installed on your computer, you can use it to scan Google Drive files. This method only applies if you have the Google Drive client installed on your computer. As you probably know, all files from your Google Drive storage will also appear in the local folder on your computer.

So, all you need to do is to make your current antivirus program scan the content of your local Google Drive folder. If any security threats are found, you’ll be instantly notified.

That’s about that for our three methods of scanning Google Drive for viruses. Unfortunately, there’s still no major antivirus service that offers full Google Drive integration. That’s definitely not a positive thing, as Google Drive is the biggest online storage service online, with millions of users. Adding full security integration for Google Drive will surely benefit both users and antivirus makers.

Do you know about some method we didn’t list here? Let us know in the comments below.

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