VirusTotal support integrated into new version of Process Explorer

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 30, 2014

Sysadmins can check hashes of processes against file-checking service database.

Microsoft and Google are known for their fierce competition, but when it comes to security, the tech giants are eager to put that aside. Hence as of this week, Google's VirusTotal has been integrated into Microsoft's Process Explorer.

The planned integration was announced by Sysinternals founder and developer Mark Russinovich (who has written for Virus Bulletin in the past and whose fictional works have also been reviewed in the magazine) on Twitter last October:

With yesterday's release of Process Explorer 16.0, the integration was completed.

Process Explorer is a task manager and process monitor that is part of the Windows Sysinternals suite. It gives Windows administrators information on the processes that are running and the resources used by them. It can be very helpful when trying to solve system issues.

While investigating, an administrator may wonder whether a process that is running is actually benign. As of this week, they can choose to send the hash of a process to VirusTotal and the interface will show whether the file has been scanned before and, if it has, how many of several dozen anti-virus products detect it as malicious.

VirusTotal is regularly used by people who then go on to make claims about the performance of anti-virus solutions - something those running the service have long said is a bad idea. However, to find out if a certain file or process is deemed to be malicious by at least some anti-virus products, which in many cases is sufficient information, it is a very useful tool.

In case the file isn't known to VirusTotal - for instance because it is some highly polymorphic or very targeted malware, or because it is an unknown but legitimate program - Process Explorer also lets the user upload the file itself, in order for it to be scanned by a large number of anti-virus products. All in all, I expect that for many system administrators, this integration will be very helpful to confirm whether or not a suspicious process is known to be malicious.

Update: An earlier version of this blog post suggested that only hashes of files were supported. This has now been corrected. Thanks to VirusTotal's Bernardo Quintero for pointing this out.

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Martijn Grooten



Latest posts:

NCSC gives important advice on lateral movement

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has provided helpful and practical advice on preventing and detecting lateral movement by an attacker within a network.

What kind of people attend Virus Bulletin conferences?

If you are considering submitting a proposal for a talk to VB2018 and you're not familiar with the event, you may find it useful to know what kind of people attend the conference.

Olympic Games target of malware, again

An unattributed malware attack has disrupted some computer systems of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In 1994, a computer virus also targeted the Winter Olympics.

There are lessons to be learned from government websites serving cryptocurrency miners

Thousands of websites, including many sites of government organisations in the UK, the US and Sweden, were recently found to have been serving a cryptocurrency miner. More interesting than the incident itself, though, are the lessons that can be…

We need to continue the debate on the ethics and perils of publishing security research

An article by security researcher Collin Anderson reopens the debate on whether publishing threat analyses is always in the public interest.