Trick Gmail Antivirus Scanner: Send Any File Type with Gmail. (.exe, .dll, .com, .bat)

gmaillogo2Are you a Gmail user? Have you ever tried to send a .zip file or .exe as an attachment and had it rejected? If so you better read up on how JVF fixes this frustrating occurrence with an easy work around.

We all know that Google has some the best spam filtering and phishing detection capabilities on the planet, but the new Gmail virus scanning is a bit disappointing. When you send and receive attachments with Gmail, they are auto scanned for viruses. If Gmail thinks your mail has a virus attached, it will attempt to clean the file or remove it. If it detects a virus and can’t remove it, then you won’t be able to download it. Sometimes it randomly thinks your attachment is SPAM, deletes it, and then never notifies either party of what happened. Gmail, where did my email go?

All of that is fine and dandy, but what is with the restriction on some of the most basic file extensions? Thanks to the new Gmail antivirus scanner, we are no longer allowed to send or receive emails with .exe, .dll, .ocx, .com or .bat attachments. Even if the same files are sent in a zipped format (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .taz, .z, .gz) they will be rejected! To the best of our knowledge the only format is still allowed is .rar, which is good news for WinRAR users.

I first noticed this when I tried to send a small installer application as an attachment to a friend. When I uploaded the .exe file to Gmail it gave me the alert:

“This is an executable file. For security reasons, Gmail does not allow you to send this type of file.”

Wow, are you serious!?! The file I uploaded was not scanned at all, it was just blocked immediately since it was an exe file. Why would Google call this an antivirus scanner when it is merely just blocking attachments with certain file extensions? Yahoo’s webmail also has an anti-virus scanner, but it actually works! They accept .exe files,  and they even scan and clean the files if they were found to be infected.

Why would Gmail even allow me to upload the entire exe file to its server for scanning, but not scan it since it was an exe.? The Gmail file uploader should be smart enough to disallow users from uploading files with extensions like exe, com, ocx, etc. This would save time for everyone, especially all users who are still using a dial up connection.

Google has no plans to stop blocking executables as attachments in Gmail, and they also haven’t leaked any information as to who is providing the antivirus technology. Yahoo! Mail uses Symantec software to scan for viruses. Hotmail licenses its technology from Trend Micro. Why isn’t Google saying which vendor is providing their antivirus technology?

Since you cannot turn off the Gmail antivirus scanning utility, you can use one of the following methods to send an executable program file (exe), and other blocked file formats in Gmail.

1. Rename the file. Change the file extension to fool the Gmail scanner. Example: rename to update.zib

Or rename the attachment to contain instructions for the recipient to property use it. For example: rename update.exe to update.exe.removeme

2. Use a free file hosting service like MediaFire, Dropbox, or Box to upload your file. Then email the link to the location of your uploaded file in the body of your Gmail message.

3. If you have lot of .exe files to send, put them in a zip file and change the extension of the zip file as mentioned in step one. Remember, Gmail denies zip attachments that contain exe files. Password protection won’t work either since Gmail is able to examine .exe filenames even in password protected zipped file. s as the archived filename listings are not encrypted by the Zip program.

4. Use different compression software like WinRAR. It compresses files in .rar format which is not currently blocked by Google. There is a high probability that Gmail will not support .rar formats in future. So if you do send one be sure the recipient actually received it.

Important: I recommend using only the first technique since all others violate Google’s terms and policies. If they do find out they could terminate your Gmail account completely.

Sending virus infected files with Gmail  is against Google’s terms of service policy. In some rare cases, If you need to mail an infected file for reporting purposes to an antivirus vendor, like the Symantec Security Response center, you can use any of the above techniques to bypass the virus scanner and attach infected files in your emails.

If you know of a tip or trick for sending attachments through Gmail that we did not list, please post your story in our comments section! Our avid readers will only benefit from your positive comments!


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