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Is scanning VIRUS needed on Linux Distros?

Do I need anti virus / anti malware software? Which sw do you recomend? Where do I get it?

Im new to Ubuntu.

marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, karthick87, Stefano Palazzo, Nathan Osman Jan 2 '11 at 21:56

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A virus scanner is currently not needed. There exist an estimated 200 viruses for Linux, a handful of which are supposed to work on contemporary distributions. But they are unlikely to be encountered in practice. Most of that malware are worms which are targetting servers only.

Anyway, you will need a virus scanner anyway, if you use wine and thus download freeware windows software. Windows viruses may run under the windows emulater. Not all of them work, but some of them could cause harm and even damage/leak personal files.

Secondly, if you interface with Windows users, for example at your workplace. You will need a virus scanner to check devices, because otherwise people might end up accusing you of spreading viruses (even though it are Windows viruses that couldn't possibly originate on your Linux computer). It's a bit like getting a flu shot to not endanger the community around you.

TL;DR: use regardless of practical need


There is no need for an antivirus/antiWhatever in Linux. About 99% of all announcements related to using an antivirus for linux are FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) coming from tipically private corporations (Cough...wont say the main one.. cough.. cough)

But anyway the ONLY way to have a antivirus in Linux would be if you are for example a MAIL SERVER. In which case you would need ClamAV for example so that it checks the mail for your customers. Of course, assuming you have windows customers in your Mail Server.

So to get to the point, you will only need an Antivirus if you are hosting some kind of service for Windows users.

NOTE - The speed at which a solution is found for a vulnerability in linux is many times higher than the total work combine of Windows programmers. Specially if it is an open source project, in which you CAN see how to fix stuff quickly.


No it's not really needed. There is ClamAV but, I think it is used only to protect other Windows machines.


What I recommend instead of antivirus software is to make sure your machine is behind a firewall, or you have the firewall enabled in Ubuntu. If you are running a server make sure inbound access is only allowed on services you're providing.

While Linux by design is much more secure than say, Windows, you're still vulnerable to exploits on any of the network services running on your machine. I've seen a few boxes exploited in my day, and some attacks can be pretty sophisticated and hide themselves very well (i.e. they recompile a version of ps that hides the trojan processes). In those situations, usually your best bet is to reformat and start from scratch.


I have avast free edition for ubuntu on my system but it is basically for to scan my windows drive just in case it gets infected it would be easier to check for viruses from ubuntu , I have windows and ubuntu dual boot