ClamAV – A Must Antivirus for Linux Systems

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You may have heard that Linux machines do not need an anti-virus software. That may be true generally, but what if using our USB flash drive on a public computer and inadvertently copying a virus onto our system? Granted, the virus may not work on Linux but what if we inadvertently forward that file to a friend (with Windows) and send the virus along. What if we still use POP to access our email and get a virus infected email that we forward to others (along with the virus)?

To overcome such issues, especially shared USB drives, ClamAV is the simple but ideal solution. It is still command line so one has to power up their Terminal (or ssh if you prefer to remotely manage it) to run the software.

Installation is a breeze on any Linux system. On Debian release try the following:

~$ apt-get install clamav


Once installed, just type the following on command line to fire it up.

~$ clamscan -r /home

where -r option lets u scan recursively in your specified /home directory.

You can find out other options by typing clamscan –help on command line.

Once the scan is complete, it prints out the result in a neat report. Similar to the one I got from scanning my /home folder.

———– SCAN SUMMARY ———–
Known viruses: 513569

Engine version: 0.92.1
Scanned directories: 3454
Scanned files: 15656
Infected files: 0
Data scanned: 33120.57 MB
Time: 3503.674 sec (58 m 23 s)


The software keeps its virus database up to date automatically by using freshclam to download the latest definitions. Freshclam is automatically installed with ClamAV.

So my advice is to keep this software handy especially when you are copying files back and forth from a public PC.

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One Response to ClamAV – A Must Antivirus for Linux Systems

  1. grege says:

    If you install the clamdrib plugin for Thunderbird you can scan incoming emails automatically.
    This is a nice addition to ClamAV.

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