Google bought VirusTotal, an online virus and URL scanner, back in 2012 and it continues to run as an independent company even today. Their website and Mac app offers a very useful utility that lets users upload files to see whether they are ridden with viruses. They recently added the ability to scan a computer’s firmware for suspicious malware.

In a post, the company comments how firmware malware is now more prevalent than ever and no longer require the resources of clandestine spy agencies to develop. Firmware is the low-level software that runs the most basic functions of a computer. As such, malicious software that targets firmware can remain on a computer even after reboots, OS wipes, and installations. As most antiviruses do not scan computer firmware, it leaves a gaping security hole.

VirusTotal now allows people to upload a firmware image to have it scanned for any extra files that were not officially shipped by a computer maker. They employ various techniques, including heuristic detection and certification extraction, to perform a thorough scan of your system.

Their blog post recommends several utilities for Mac and PC to grab a firmware image and also advise users to remove any private information before uploading to their tool.

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