Do I need to have an anti-virus software for Linux? Isn't Linux virus free?
If it is virus free then why are some anti-virus software in the software-center? If you are an average user of Linux you might be having these questions.
So, do we really need an anti-virus software installed? The answer is 'yes' and 'no'. Don't worry after reading this post you will know if you need an anti-virus for your Linux.
There are viruses for most all platforms, they are just more common on Windows. You can actually run Windows without a virus scanner if you keep it patched and are really careful. If you are really careful and know what you are doing you can get away without a scanner. The fact of the matter is: viruses/worms take advantage of flaws or holes in the code.
There are some viruses targeted on Linux platform. Linux and other UNIX platforms are regarded are well protected, but not immune to computer viruses. It is said that Linux is not targeted because its low share market made it a less profitable target. But UNIX dominates most of the web servers, scientific workstations etc. An attacker targeting these systems would both have an extremely target-rich environment and instantly earn lasting fame. But that doesn't happen. The reason behind that is Linux is built with security in mind. Even if a security flaw is present there are thousands of eyes watching the code and people fix these flaws very quickly.
But still you might want to install an anti virus so that you might not want to spread windows viruses through your computer or you might want to scan windows partitions etc.
So let's take a look on the anti-viruses available:


Clam AV is a command-line based scanner for Linux. It is free and open-source. You can install it from the software-center. To install it from the terminal type the following :

sudo apt-get install clamav
For scanning to work, a virus database is needed. There are two options
for getting it:
clamav-freshclam: updates the database from Internet. This is
recommended with Internet access.
clamav-data: for users without Internet access. The package is
not updated once installed. The clamav-getfiles package allows
creating custom packages from an Internet-connected computer.
ClamTk is a GUI front-end for ClamAV using perl-Gtk2. To install it type the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

The following anti-virus applications are useful to discover MSWindows specific threats. They can be installed by following the instructions given on their respective websites.
  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Avira
  • BitDefender
  • Comodo
  • ClamAV
  • Dr.Web
  • EScan for Linux
  • F-Prot
  • F-Secure Linux
  • Kaspersky Linux Security
  • McAfee VirusScan Enterprise for Linux
  • Panda Security for Linux
  • Symantec AntiVirus for Linux
  • Trend Micro ServerProtect for Linux
The following anti-virus applications will look for Linux specific threats:

  •  ESET
  • rkhunter
  • Sophos
  • chkrootkit


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