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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

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.

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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.

Features

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

2. Sophos

sophos-linux

 

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.

Features

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

3. Comodo

comodo-linux

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.

Features

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

4. Chkrootkit

chkrootkit-linux

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.

Features

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

5. F-PROT

f-prot-linux

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.

Features

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

6. Rootkit Hunter

rkhunter

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.

Features

  • 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.

Features

  • 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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  1. Moyo Freeman
    May 17, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I use NOD32 to clean windows viruses especially when i copy folders (say with pictures) from my windows users.

  2. Stone Forest
    May 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I just tried ClamAV.

    ClamAV does not seem to work at all, and cannot even be updated.

    • Stone Forest
      May 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Update:

      Delete 'freshclam.log' in /var/log/clamav, and then run 'sudo freshclam' in a terminal emulator. ClamAV will then update its database.

      I ran a full scan of my home folder, and no surprises: all of the 'possible threats' were Windows software packages, including Windows 3.1. LOL.

    • Goob
      June 18, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      it's crap

  3. dark
    January 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I would suggest Sophos for linux, forget about others they are either discontinued or not good.

    I wonder why most Antivirus developers not interested in developing antivirus for Linux when Linux is the future?
    Is everyone suddenly ok with Windows 10 spywares from Microsoft? You know Windows based antiviruses don't stop microsoft spywares, right?

    Linux users, you do need Antivirus on Linux mostly for keeping your system and USB devices clean from Windows Malwares and sometimes from Linux Malwares.

    • Three Eighty-Six
      April 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Amen, brother. My mind is still blown that people just accept that Windows 10 runs slower, has a convoluted interface, and passively spies on them continuously for the American government and for advertising purposes with no actual way to disable it.

  4. JakeA
    January 28, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    If you're not being stupid you don't need an antivirus. You almost never download any programs from the web.

  5. Ron Kowalski
    August 12, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Been using COMODO for quite a while now on openSUSE (Tumbleweed). One needs the "KINTA JAPAN" patch in order to be able to have "on access" scanning ("real time"). Without that, one cannot compile the necessary kernel modules. However, on demand scanning is still possible and av-defs can be updated without that.

    Also note that the KINTA JAPAN patch works (on Tumbleweed, anyways) up to and including the 4.6 kernels, as of 4.7 some structures have changed in the kernel and the patch will NOT work anymore. But, as noted, COMODO will, though without the on access feature.

  6. Orion Blastar
    July 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    All but ClamAV have been discontinued.

    It seems nobody wants to make a Linux based antivirus program anymore. A real shame as I'd like to scan Windows hard drives under Linux to make sure my system does not get infected.

  7. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    good post
    one comment
    sleek not sleak
    we must perfect our spelling to be an excellent-er writer. .;)

  8. Ben Nevis
    July 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Comodo is a dedicated linux application. It works. Sophos is a pain to install, so...I don't think others listed above are worth considering.

    • Justin Pot
      July 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      It's great seeing new updates here five years after I published this article, thanks for contributing.

      • diw
        April 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

        Maybe that's a hint that this needs re-writing? It seems this article is now out of date.

  9. Ben Nevis
    July 12, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Comodo is a dedicated linux application. It works well. Sophos is a pain to install. Most of those listed above are not worth considering

  10. Jouni "rautamiekka" Järvinen
    May 19, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Avast is dead and Bitdefender ain't free.

  11. evan mcveigh
    February 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    I am still having trouble installing bitdefender on my system, I am running 64 bit ubuntu 14.04 and this is the file I downloaded BitDefender-Antivirus-Scanner-7.7-1-linux-amd64.deb.run. I am unsure what exactly the sudo comand would look like, the file location is in my download folder.

    • Justin Pot
      February 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      You need to open the Command Line. First, you'll type this:

      cd Download

      This will tell the command line to "change directory" to your "Download" folder. Then you need to type this:

      sudo ./BitDefender-Antivirus-Scanner-7.7-1-linux-amd64.deb.run

      This will tell the command line to, as an admin (sudo) to run (./) the installer you downloaded (BitDefender-Antivirus-Scanner-7.7-1-linux-amd64.deb.run). You don't need to type the entire name of the installer: just hit the tab key a few letters in and it will complete. Good luck!

  12. John Wootten
    December 14, 2014 at 3:09 am

    I am a brand new Linux user and I am using Zorin 9 core. I am finding it difficult to use because I am used ti clicking on an icon to launch a program and I can't find any way to do that with Zorin. I'm afraid I will do something wrong and I want to be protected. So I am interested in two of the ones that have been talked about here. I want to download and try to use the CalmAV and Avair. They seem to be the best and eaisest ones to use. I am also interested in some wat to get the icons back into my life so I can enjoy using my laptop again. Can someone help me with both, the download of these virus programs and a way to get my icons for my software?
    Thanks so much,
    jwwpapa

    • Xi
      January 7, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      I'm also a linux user. But I'd never recommend ClamAV as it scans only for Windows virus and if you run a full scan, you'll end up deleting OS system files. Avira will shut down by 2016.

      I'd suggest you to opt for Comodo/Sophos Antivirus for Linux as they can detect Linux and Windows malware. Sophos can detect OS X Mac viruses too. Also, they both have GUI for easy navigation and operation.

  13. Jason Harris
    November 19, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Hey Guys,

    I work with BitDefender and am more than willing to help with any issues or concerns you guys have. reply to this comment and we can connect offline - I look forward to hearing any questions and helping!

    -Jason

  14. Jason Harris
    November 19, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Hey Guys,

    I work with BitDefender and am more than willing to help with any issues or concerns you guys have. reply to this comment and we can connect offline - I look forward to hearing any questions and helping!

    -Jason

  15. Ubuntuandstuff
    November 16, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I use a linux antivirus to disinfect a windows partition on my desktop.

  16. Ubuntuandstuff
    November 16, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I use a linux antivirus to disinfect a windows partition on my desktop

    ubuntuandstuff.blogspot.com

  17. DiagonalArg
    November 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for clearing up the Win/Linux issue, Ghostcat.

    Here's another interesting review that I just found:

    http://www.tuxradar.com/content/get-best-virus-scanner-linux

    I too had settled on Avast, though that reviewer was mildly more positively disposed to BitDefender.

  18. DiagonalArg
    November 14, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks for clearing up the Win/Linux issue, Ghostcat.

    Here's another interesting review that I just found:

    http://www.tuxradar.com/conten...

    I too had settled on Avast, though that reviewer was mildly more positively disposed to BitDefender.

  19. Ghostcat
    November 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    But it would be interesting to know how do they perform when cleaning Windows infected systems from Linux.

    I am, as we speak, testing them, with several samples of Windows viruses, taken from an infected machine.
    So far, neither F-Prot, Bitdefender or - to my disappointment - AVG are able to detect Windows viruses. It seems that they are intended to be antivirus protections for Linux itself. Not really what I'm looking for.

    ClamAV has unfortunately never been too good; the detection rate is rather low; I can't trust it enough to be sure I have cleaned a Windows infected machine.

    I haven't been able to evaluate Avira, since it asks for some dependencies that I don't have installed in my PCLinuxOS.

    Avast is the only one that is doing a good job detecting Windows viruses when running on a Linux system. And the latest release of the GUI seems to have corrected a minor but annoying problem that I used to have: the GUI used to crash when trying to scan large directories, but right now that seems to be working well.

    The greatest disappointment is AVG. The older version 7.x was pretty good to detect and clean Windows infections. Even without a GUI it was very useful. The next version 8 was still usable even thought they removed the cleaning capability. But the latest 8.5 version does not detect Windows viruses; it's even called "AVG Server Edition", which appears to indicate that is intended for servers running Linux.

    I think that having an antivirus software on a Linux system can be, as Justin says, very handy when cleaning Windows systems. Sadly, most vendors don't seem to be interested in this use; they make only antivirus solutions for Windows - which not always work once the computer is already infected -, or they make antivirus software to protect Linux installations - servers mainly.
    I hope that Avast continues making their excellent Linux version, and that ClamAV gets better.

  20. Ghostcat
    November 14, 2010 at 12:55 am

    But it would be interesting to know how do they perform when cleaning Windows infected systems from Linux.

    I am, as we speak, testing them, with several samples of Windows viruses, taken from an infected machine.
    So far, neither F-Prot, Bitdefender or - to my disappointment - AVG are able to detect Windows viruses. It seems that they are intended to be antivirus protections for Linux itself. Not really what I'm looking for.

    ClamAV has unfortunately never been too good; the detection rate is rather low; I can't trust it enough to be sure I have cleaned a Windows infected machine.

    I haven't been able to evaluate Avira, since it asks for some dependencies that I don't have installed in my PCLinuxOS.

    Avast is the only one that is doing a good job detecting Windows viruses when running on a Linux system. And the latest release of the GUI seems to have corrected a minor but annoying problem that I used to have: the GUI used to crash when trying to scan large directories, but right now that seems to be working well.

    The greatest disappointment is AVG. The older version 7.x was pretty good to detect and clean Windows infections. Even without a GUI it was very useful. The next version 8 was still usable even thought they removed the cleaning capability. But the latest 8.5 version does not detect Windows viruses; it's even called "AVG Server Edition", which appears to indicate that is intended for servers running Linux.

    I think that having an antivirus software on a Linux system can be, as Justin says, very handy when cleaning Windows systems. Sadly, most vendors don't seem to be interested in this use; they make only antivirus solutions for Windows - which not always work once the computer is already infected -, or they make antivirus software to protect Linux installations - servers mainly.
    I hope that Avast continues making their excellent Linux version, and that ClamAV gets better.

  21. Lott11
    November 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I have used this combination for the past few years on my MS 64 bit OS.
    Comodo Firewall, Avira Anti-virus, Emsisoft A2 Square Mal-ware & A2HiJackFree, and Spy-bot..
    Since I put this combination I never had any problem and it is free.
    Even Dow this is not needed for Linux, I do like Avira best of all it is quick and is a real time scan.
    Any USB, flash memory, external drive, what ever gets plugged in gets a scan with out me doing anything both on Linux and MS.
    Avira still rank highest over all for my self.

  22. Lott11
    November 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I have used this combination for the past few years on my MS 64 bit OS.
    Comodo Firewall, Avira Anti-virus, Emsisoft A2 Square Mal-ware & A2HiJackFree, and Spy-bot..
    Since I put this combination I never had any problem and it is free.
    Even Dow this is not needed for Linux, I do like Avira best of all it is quick and is a real time scan.
    Any USB, flash memory, external drive, what ever gets plugged in gets a scan with out me doing anything both on Linux and MS.
    Avira still rank highest over all for my self.

  23. Mohammad Elsheimy
    November 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I love Avira and I think it's one of the best anti-virus programs ever. :)

    • Anarimus
      January 4, 2011 at 1:34 am

      You are correct sir. I've used all of these and i always return to Avira.

  24. pdecort
    November 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I am relatively new to Linux having bought an QNAP TS-219P. It has an embeded version of Linux so I'm not certain whether I would be able to use any of these on the embeded version... or how to go about installing them.
    I use the NAS from my windows based PCs so I think the virus protection would be wise.

    also, it's not an intel processor - which seems to rule out Avast.

    Any assistance would be appreciated!

    P de Cort

    • Imakayaker
      November 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

      Try the ClamAV. It was included on my version of Ubuntu and it seems to work pretty well. I am looking for another AV just in case.

  25. pdecort
    November 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I am relatively new to Linux having bought an QNAP TS-219P. It has an embeded version of Linux so I'm not certain whether I would be able to use any of these on the embeded version... or how to go about installing them.
    I use the NAS from my windows based PCs so I think the virus protection would be wise.

    also, it's not an intel processor - which seems to rule out Avast.

    Any assistance would be appreciated!

    P de Cort

  26. dana theteacher
    November 1, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Makeuseof has to be my favorite blog. This is just another great example of why! Thank you for the reviews.

  27. Srinivas G
    November 1, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Hey, nice article Justin. I use BitDefender because Avast doesn't have a 64-bit version (we have to force the architecture to install the 32 bit one) and always throws an initialization error at me (there's a fix, though). Clam AV misses a lot. I haven't tried AVG yet and maybe I won't need to, with BitDefender performing well.

    BTW, BitDefender offers us a "1 year" license for "personal use". Here's the link > http://www.bitdefender.com/world/Products/ScannerLicense/ Instead of filling in the 'evaluation version' page, you can directly request a free license and that along with the download link will be e-mailed to you.

  28. Srinivas G
    November 1, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Hey, nice article Justin. I use BitDefender because Avast doesn't have a 64-bit version (we have to force the architecture to install the 32 bit one) and always throws an initialization error at me (there's a fix, though). Clam AV misses a lot. I haven't tried AVG yet and maybe I won't need to, with BitDefender performing well.

    BTW, BitDefender offers us a "1 year" license for "personal use". Here's the link > http://www.bitdefender.com/wor... Instead of filling in the 'evaluation version' page, you can directly request a free license and that along with the download link will be e-mailed to you.

  29. 67GTA
    October 31, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    F-Prot and Avira also are free for home use, and have Linux versions available.