Scan Your System And Removable Media For Viruses With ClamTk [Linux]

Danny Stieben 12-01-2012

clamtk virus scannerIn my previous article Protect Your System With Clam AntiVirus [Windows] 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,... Read More , I covered the official Windows client for Clam AntiVirus, an open source antivirus scanning tool that is available on multiple platforms. However, ClamAV may be even more popular on Linux, where it first began its life. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the most popular client of ClamAV for Linux, known as ClamTk.


About ClamTk

ClamTk is available for most of the popular distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora, but is installable on all systems via compilation of the source code. In Ubuntu, you can install it by searching for “Clam” and installing the “Virus Scanner” or by running this in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

In Fedora, you should be able to install it by searching for “clamtk” in the package manager or running in the terminal:

sudo yum install clamtk


clamtk virus scanner
Once it has been installed, go ahead and open it from your dash/menu/etc. You will now see the (very simple) main window of the application. There are a couple of different buttons to scan your home folder, a directory, or a file, or to exit the application. Below those buttons are a few checks made by the program to see if the latest version of the ClamAV engine, the latest GUI version, and the latest virus definitions are installed.

The virus definitions should be updated automatically through the scheduler (more on that later), while the engine version and GUI version are dependent on what is pushed to your distribution’s repositories. If any of the two are majorly out-of-date, you should notify the repository maintainers using the recommended method. Most distributions ask that you file a bug complaint or simply wait.

Menu Options

Aside from the very simplistic interface, some more advanced features are hidden within the menus. Under Scan, you’ll find a few more options for scanning, including quick and recursive scans. Under View, you can see the history of actions taken with the program, as well as clear that log. Under Quarantine, you can check the status of your quarantined items, restore or delete individual quarantined items, or simply empty the whole quarantine.


clamtk virus scanner linux
Under Advanced, you can schedule scans, run the antivirus wizard, submit a file for analysis, or tweak other preferences. The scheduler is an important feature as it makes staying virus-free easy and doesn’t require you to remember to run the scanner. It also makes up for the lack of real-time protection. With the scheduler, you can schedule scans of your home folder or entire computer, as well as virus definition updates.

clamtk virus scanner
The preferences include multiple scanning preferences, startup options, an option to whitelist directories so that they won’t be scanned, and proxy options so that you can get your virus definitions without any issues.

Finally, under Help, you can manually check for updates for the antivirus engine and the GUI, as well as look up information about the GUI itself.


ClamTk is an easy-to-use GUI for the ClamAV engine that should help you keep your Linux system virus free. However, more importantly, this easy tool will help you get rid of nasty viruses that may be on a separate hard drive or removable media. Don’t forget that as a rescue solution, you can boot up a Linux environment using a LiveCD and install ClamTk to combat the virus that may be plaguing your Windows machine.


What do you think of ClamTk? Is there any antivirus solution on Linux that is better? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Anti-Malware, Fedora, Scanner, Ubuntu.

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  1. Espen Meidell
    January 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I have used ClamAV in the past, and it seems to be good. Does anyone know how extensive the clamav database is, and how effective is the scanner?

    • Danny Stieben
      January 17, 2012 at 4:39 am

      As far as I know the database is alright and so is the scanner. Protection against extremely specialized malware may be a bit iffy like with most antivirus software, but for most common ones it should be perfectly fine.