Some antivirus tools are indeed tricky to figure out and check whether they are as good as they claim, especially in comparison to other antivirus tools. Some say that they can remove viruses very well, but their detection rates are not what they ought to be. So how can you know that you’re choosing a good product to protect your system?
For starters, open source software is usually a good start, as anyone can see exactly how the program is written, and can therefore tell you how well it should work. The most popular open source antiviral tool, Clam AntiVirus (or ClamAV for short), is decent enough to be used on a regular basis.
ClamAV used to be a pretty simple tool that did nothing more than scan files for viruses from the latest available definitions. Today however, the Windows version has been expanded. A new tool powered by ClamAV is recommended on their site for use on Windows machines. This new tool uses ClamAV and also adds real time protection and a new interface.
Linux users can still get regular ClamAV from their respective repositories, which is fine because you don’t really need anything more advanced on Linux as you do on Windows.
Download and Installation
To download and install Clam Antivirus for Windows, you’ll need to download the tool (known on the site as Immunet, as the Windows client seems to be a joint project) and install it as any other program. During the installation it’ll ask you whether you want the regular version or a trial of the paid version (which I find a little strange for a product based on open source software). However, keep going with the installation, and in no time at all you’ll be presented with the main window of the product.
The main window, although slightly cluttered with some ads for the paid version, has a pretty clean design so that it’s easy to keep an overview of everything going on. You get some community links on the left, scanning options and other related information in the center, and a link to the settings and one to update the program on the right.
Scanning is pretty straight forward. You can tell it to scan archived or packed files in the settings, and from there you run a Flash Scan (scans running processes), a custom scan, or a full scan. The mentioned rootkit scan is only available, again, in the paid product. Note that virus definitions are in the cloud and don’t have to be locally updated.
The settings are also quite interesting to go through, as it mentions multiple different engines that the program can use to scan files for viruses. This is especially useful if you’re not very trusting of cloud services and would rather disable those while keeping the local ClamAV engine enabled. There are also some settings where new programs are deemed safe or not before they are even installed or run.
ClamAV/Immunet is a great way to keep your computer safe from viruses. Not only that, but the site heavily advertises that it works well with most major antivirus solutions, so you can always run Immunet in addition to whatever software you currently have to protect yourself. In the end, you’ll be safe rather than sorry.
Since this is a fairly different program that uses the Clam Antivirus engine, in the future I’ll be writing another article of it’s Linux counterpart, which appears in its true form. Stay tuned for that.
What’s your opinion of ClamAV? Do you think it’s a handy tool or just another project that will never have a major impact in the antivirus community? Let us know in the comments!