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Can your Linux installation catch a virus? Yes it can, even though they are rare. This is the case especially if you are sharing data (documents and other files) from Windows based computers. It is useful to install ClamAV to remove those viruses.

ClamAV is an open source antivirus engine for detecting trojans, viruses, malware and other malicious threats. Of course, it is available for the most common Linux distributions including Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS.

In case you didn’t know, ClamAV is the standard for mail gateway scanning software. Of course, we are talking about the open source area. This tells you how powerful and reliable it is. All this, with a high performance, which assures you that you will not have an unnecessary expense of computer resource.

Install ClamAV

Installing ClamAV is really simple because it is available in the main repositories of most Linux distributions.

To install for Debian

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt install clamav clamav-daemon

The installation is done.

Using ClamAV

Like any antivirus, its effectiveness depends on how often you update your virus definition. So the first step is to update ClamAV.


Next, scan your home directory

clamscan -r /home/you

The -r option ensures all directories are scanned, even the hidden ones.

Setup ClamAV to Constantly Monitor

The above process is very easy but it is not a good idea if it has to be done frequently. So, initialize the ClamAV daemon to constantly look for threats.

sudo /etc/init.d/clamav-daemon start
sudo /etc/init.d/clamav-freshclam start

Getting Help

Finally, you can consult the rest of ClamAV usage using its help. It is important to know other options of use and configuration.

clamav -help


It is important to know how to use ClamAV on Linux because security is an issue that should not be taken lightly. Its installation and use are quite simple but because it is open source it guarantees a correct and frequently updated database.

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