For the past two days, my data usage has increased even though I did nothing more than normal data surfing. I installed nethogs and found this application (/usr/bin/freshclam) drinking my data ridiculously. Can anyone help me with this? What is this and how can I completely remove it?

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One more thing I wonder If any application can upload my documents data to its server without my permission (it would be a nightmare).

  • Please accept answer by clicking grey checkmark next to it Jan 20, 2020 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Freshclam is the clamav database updater. You can reduce the amount of times that it goes out and updates the clamav database anywhere from 0 times a day (no updates) to however many you want. 12 times a day means once every 2 hours. Right now, it is probably set to 24 times (once per hour).

To set it run:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure clamav-freshclam

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You can also set freshclam to a manual update by setting the Virus database update method: on the second screen of sudo dpkg-reconfigure clamav-freshclam to manual.

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After the above is set, then simply run sudo freshclam to update:

$ sudo freshclam
Mon Jan 20 17:16:09 2020 -> ClamAV update process started at Mon Jan 20 17:16:09 2020
Mon Jan 20 17:16:09 2020 -> daily.cld database is up to date (version: 25701, sigs: 2150284, f-level: 63, builder: raynman)
Mon Jan 20 17:16:09 2020 -> main.cld database is up to date (version: 59, sigs: 4564902, f-level: 60, builder: sigmgr)
Mon Jan 20 17:16:09 2020 -> bytecode.cvd database is up to date (version: 331, sigs: 94, f-level: 63, builder: anvilleg)

Hope this helps!

  • Is there a command that can be run to update on demand (over Wi-Fi, for example)? That would be a useful addition. Jan 21, 2020 at 0:03
  • 1
    @chrylis-onstrike- See updated answer.
    – Terrance
    Jan 21, 2020 at 0:15
  • Perhaps this answer should highlight the risks of disabling virus scanner updates
    – Jorn
    Jan 21, 2020 at 13:18
  • 1
    @Jorn Why? That wasn't the question.
    – Mast
    Jan 21, 2020 at 13:32
  • Because sometimes it's our responsibility as professionals to protect users from themselves.
    – Jorn
    Jan 21, 2020 at 14:06

I had the same problem, my daily data was used up within hours of tethering. The culprit was an out-of-date version of ClamAV. Due to the older version, Freshclam was unable to download the database updates. In my case, the database update was 150 MB and it was failing after downloading 40 MB, and Freshclam would retry after 5 seconds to download again.

I updated the ClamAV version through Software Updater and this fixed the issue.

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