Guide to Online Antivirus Solutions: NanoScan and TotalScan

Internet connections are getting faster every day, so online antivirus solutions have transformed from proof-of-concept into actual quality security services.

I’ve been playing with some leading online antivirus products and through the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my thoughts about them. We start with two online antivirus services created by Panda Software.


NanoScan is a free online solution that detects different kind of malware that could be running on the computer. Technically it is not that powerful, but provides a highly useful and rapid “second opinion” that complements any antivirus installed on a system.

This solution is a fast and efficient way of testing your system for major threats. It scans more than million samples of known malware, but because it scans the whole computer in just a couple of minutes, it doesn’t detect all the installed malware, especially those of lower importance (adware, cookies etc).

NanoScan was recently updated so it can cater the Mozilla Firefox community, but don’t try to use it from older Firefox browsers (such as 1.0.7) as after installing an add-on software, the NanoScan initialization will stop at 0%:

In the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and up, NanoScan works without any problems.

As I mentioned the scanning process is very fast and depending on your system, it should be over within a couple of minutes.

The best types of computers to use in this kind of tests are those belonging to your family members, people that are just the Internet’s average Joes. You will almost certainly find some pests at their systems.


NanoScan found some problems and offers you to test the system via TotalScan, Panda’s better and bigger online antivirus solution. This tool detects both threats that are active on the computer, as well as those that remain latent but could activate at any time.

TotalScan is also available for free, but there is a catch. All the scanning is free, but if you want to disinfect your computer from the threats found by this tool, you will need to buy yourself a registered copy of the service.

The tool works over an Active-X control which is automatically offered for download.

The scanning process is pretty thorough and it lasted for about 15-20 minutes.

After the scan is over, TotalScan shows a list of malware found on the tested computer. For easier understanding, malware is divided by threat level. Majority of lower threats are cookies, which in my perspective aren’t a threat at all.

With a click of a button you can get more information on the specific problematic files on your computer – their location and further information from Panda’s virus/malware encyclopedia.