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There’s a misconception that Linux users don’t need antivirus software. True, Linux does best Windows 6 Things That Ubuntu Does Better Than Windows 6 Things That Ubuntu Does Better Than Windows Some think that Ubuntu is for nerds - but the truth is that Ubuntu is just as easy to use as Windows. In fact, there are several things Ubuntu does better than Windows 10. Read More in the security space. On the contrary, antivirus software is a must for any computer. With the prevalence of malware and viruses, it’s essential to have maximum protection.

While Windows antivirus programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs You must know by now: you need antivirus protection. Macs, Windows and Linux PCs all need it. You really have no excuse. So grab one of these ten and start protecting your computer! Read More are relatively well-known, Linux apps may not be as recognizable. Luckily for Linux users, antivirus programs abound. Moreover, many of these are free to use. Check out the top seven antivirus programs for Linux:

1. ClamAV


ClamAV Control Virus Scans From The Command Line With Clam Antivirus [Linux] Control Virus Scans From The Command Line With Clam Antivirus [Linux] There are a few ways in which you can access Clam Antivirus for numerous purposes. First, there's a front end to Clam Antivirus which you can use to perform tasks graphically. It is called Clamtk... Read More is a simple to install and easy to use antivirus program for Linux. It’s available via the main repository on Ubuntu. There’s no native graphical user interface (GUI), but there’s the ClamTK GUI for download here and in the software center.

You can install ClamAV via the command line with

sudo apt-install clamav

Then simply install ClamTK for the optional GUI.


The comprehensive antivirus suite provides a command-line scanner, database updater, and regularly updated virus definitions. ClamAV sports support for a range of document types, from PDF to Office files as well as archive files such as RAR and Zip.


  • Open-source
  • Command-line interface
  • Free
  • GUI available

2. Sophos



Sophos Antivirus for Linux is an awesome free solution. The virus, Trojan, and malware scanner features strong heuristics-based detection. There’s both on-demand and real-time scanning. A neat inclusion, Sophos also prevents and removes Android, Windows, and Mac malware. This helps your Linux machine stay safe from becoming a threat to other machines.

What makes Sophos a top pick is its emphasis on performance. The lightweight free antivirus app even has relatively small updates. Usually, these clock in around 50 KB. For total control, you can create exclusions as with file names and directories.


  • Lightweight
  • Free
  • High-performing
  • Wide platform compatibility
  • Blocks and removes non-Linux malware

3. Comodo


Comodo offers an excellent free antivirus for Linux program. It’s no surprise considering Comodo makes excellent cross-platform tools, including an amazing Windows firewall Which Free Firewall For Windows Is Best For You? Which Free Firewall For Windows Is Best For You? We place emphasis on antivirus and malware removal, but don't ignore firewalls. Let's take a look at the best free Windows firewalls, comparing ease of setup, ease of use, and availability of features. Read More . Available in both 32- and 64-bit flavors, it’s a great pick for both older and newer systems. Comoto Antirivus for Linix (CAVL) is compatible with a range of distros, including Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, OpenSUSE, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Along with antivirus features, CAVL comes with email filtering and real-time plus on-demand scanning.


  • Free
  • On-demand scanner
  • Real-time protection
  • Regular updates

4. Chkrootkit


As the name suggests, Chkrootkit scans for rootkits. This free open-source program operates via a command line interface. It’s extremely lightweight, and what’s really neat is its usability from a Live CD How to Build Your Own Bootable Linux Live CD How to Build Your Own Bootable Linux Live CD It's easy to create a DIY bootable live CD in Linux, using third-party tools or official Linux operating systems. Need help? Follow these steps to create a Linux Live CD in minutes. Read More . Thus, if you have a rescue CD, you may run Chkrootkit straight from that.

The latest release features backdoor and botnet detection, malicious TinyNDS detection, and Linux.Xor.DDoS malware scanning.


  • Rootkit detection
  • Lightweight
  • Can be run from a Live CD
  • Command-line interface



F-PROT provides both home and enterprise support. For home users, F-PROT is completely free and available as a download here. The Linux antivirus program scans more than 21 million threats with on-demand scanners and scheduled scans. F-PROT can detect macro viruses, Trojans, and even boot sector viruses.

With its combination of superb scanning, a massive database, and the fact that it’s free, F-PROT is a great option. The interface may not be as polished as CAVL, but it’s powerful and lightweight.


  • Free
  • Detects more than 21 million threats
  • Compatible with 32- and 64-bit environments

6. Rootkit Hunter


Rootkit Hunter is an excellent choice for Linux rootkit detection. RKH uses the command-line, backdoors, and various exploits. This tool uses SHA-1 hash comparison to detect malicious entries. It’s available or Linux and FreeBSD.

Since Rootkit Hunter is written in Bourne shell, it’s portable and compatible with most UNIX-based systems.


  • Command-line interface
  • Rootkit detection
  • Portable
  • Lightweight

7. BitDefender

bitdefender-scan bitdefender-download

BitDefender does make an excellent Linux antivirus program. But it’s decidedly difficult to find on the BitDefender website. BitDefender provides a free trial, and you can request a free license. Unfortunately, end of life has been announced, though downloads are still available. Releases include iterations for Samba (Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD), as well as Unices (Linux and FreeBSD).

While this tool has reached the end of life support, it’s still arguably better to use than nothing. But for a long term solution, it’s likely best to use a currently supported antivirus tool for Linux.


  • Free
  • Installers for Samba and Unices
  • End of Life (not supported, though still available)

Paid Linux Antivirus

If you’re willing to shell out a bit of cash, there are several superb Linux antivirus suites available. Notably, ESET, F-Secure, Dr. Web, Avast, and Panda have Linux antivirus offerings.

However, any of the free tools should be more than sufficient for at least home use.

Final Thoughts

There’s no shortage of Linux antivirus apps. Which you choose depends on your environment (home use vs. enterprise deployment) as well as specific use cases. If you want comprehensive protection, opt for a suite. But if you simply want an on-demand rootkit checker, use one of those choices.

Are you using antivirus protection on Linux? Which program is your favorite?

Original version by Justin Pot

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