If you have a modern computer (as in, anything more than five years old) chances are good that you are not running the latest and greatest version of the operating system. Aside from security and stability reasons, of course, Linux is a good OS for the average computer user. But, like any OS, it’s susceptible to malware, viruses, and other threats. How can you keep your system secure against these threats? There are a few tools that may be able to help. One of these is an antivirus program.
Ubuntu is a free and open source operating system. There are many antivirus products available for Ubuntu, but they do not always work for the user. They may not work for your system or your version of Ubuntu. In this article, I will show you how to install an effective antivirus on Ubuntu.
Antivirus software is a hot topic for many IT users and one of the most frequently asked questions is whether you need an antivirus on Ubuntu. In the past year this question has become more important due to the “Olympic Games” malware outbreaks and the WannaCry Ransomware attack. Fortunately, Ubuntu users don’t need to resort to using big name antivirus software (ClamAV or Avast) on Ubuntu, as most of them are free and have been ported to work with Ubuntu.
Installing (or activating) an antivirus on a Windows machine has become one of the initial tasks for many users throughout the years. The option for a Linux system, such as Ubuntu, is less obvious. Is it truly required? In this post, I’ll answer your queries and offer you some pointers based on how you use your system.
Installing an antivirus on Ubuntu is not required in general. The majority of viruses are designed to infect Windows computers, thus Linux users are still quite secure. If you’re concerned about security, ClamAV, for example, is a fantastic free option on Ubuntu.
Now that you know what you should do, let’s look at why and how in the sections below.
Is it necessary to install an antivirus on Ubuntu?
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Installing an antivirus on Linux computers, including Ubuntu, is still not recommended as a general rule. It’s not required unless there are particular reasons, such as exchanging data with Windows users.
Can Viruses Infect Ubuntu?
The chances of getting a virus on Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu, are very slim. It doesn’t rule out the possibility, but getting a single file that would harm your machine is very rare.
To refresh your memory, a virus is a file that, when run, modifies the system’s behavior by injecting its own code. They infect systems by exploiting system weaknesses, and their primary objectives are usually sabotage or profit.
Viruses aren’t the only dangers; malware, trojan horses, and other ransomware aren’t to be mistaken with them. Malicious software of this kind is more common than viruses, regardless of the operating system. If you are not cautious with your online use, you may easily acquire harmful browser extensions.
We’ll look at ways to defend your Ubuntu system from all of these dangers later, but for now, keep in mind that Ubuntu is already very secure out of the box due to built-in security features.
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Why is Ubuntu virus-free and virus-free?
The Ubuntu operating system is designed with “unrivalled security” in mind, according to the Ubuntu website:
All Canonical products are designed with unrivaled security in mind — and rigorously tested to guarantee that they do. Your Ubuntu software is safe from the time you install it, and it will stay so as long as Canonical prioritizes Ubuntu for security updates.
In comparison to Windows, certain security features on Ubuntu are more difficult to get around. Most Windows users, for example, have administrator rights, and any application may be installed immediately, with a double-click, or even in the background. To install anything on Ubuntu, the primary user must utilize sudo, which adds an extra layer of protection before proceeding (you need to type your password to accept any new installation).
Linux users, let’s face it, are more likely to be geeks who know what they’re doing. They are more likely to understand the need of upgrades and to safeguard their systems with additional security measures.
Why is Ubuntu considered to be a more secure operating system than Windows?
Ubuntu is, on the overall, safer than Windows systems for two reasons: it’s designed with more security features (like sudo) and it’s less appealing to hackers since most people use Windows.
In recent years, Windows has made significant improvements in terms of system security. Windows Defender is now pre-installed on all new installations and is capable of blocking the majority of infections. However, new ones emerge every day, and the majority of them target Windows users, making it difficult to keep your Windows machine secure.
On the other hand, only around 2% of the population uses all Linux distributions for desktop use (according to StatCounter). If you’re creating harmful code, you’ll almost certainly make it for Windows users (73 percent of the population) rather than Ubuntu users (only a subpart of the 2 percent of Linux users).
How can Ubuntu’s system security be improved?
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I already explained why installing an antivirus on Ubuntu may be a good idea in certain circumstances, and now I’ll show you how to do it on your machine.
What antivirus program should I install on Ubuntu?
ClamAV is the finest antivirus you can use on Ubuntu. It was created specifically for Unix-based computers. ClamAV provides all of the security you need, is simple to install, and is completely free.
On Ubuntu, there are several choices, but ClamAV is the one I prefer.
You’ll be able to check your device for malware, viruses, trojans, ISP tracking, and other security concerns when the installation is complete. After the program completes the installation, it will provide you with some configuration choices and set up regular updates for you, so you won’t have to bother about manually upgrading anything.
How can I get ClamAV to work on Ubuntu?
ClamAV is a free antivirus that is pre-loaded in the Ubuntu repositories and can be installed via the package manager (apt in command line or the graphical version).
The quickest method is to use the command line:
- Open a terminal (or an SSH connection if you don’t have a desktop environment) on your machine.
- sudo apt update will refresh the package cache.
- Then run sudo apt install clamav to install ClamAV.
- If you wish, you may additionally provide a graphical user interface: clamtk sudo apt install
If you have the graphical interface installed, you may search for “antivirus” under Ubuntu software. ClamTk, a graphical interface for ClamAV, should be the sole result.
To install everything, click the green “Install” button.
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On Ubuntu, how do I use ClamAV?
You may use the command line or the GUI front-end to control it after it’s installed. I’ll demonstrate both.
ClamAV may be used in a desktop environment.
Let’s start with the simplest:
- ClamTK may be found in the applications menu and should be opened.
- You’ll receive something similar to this:
- “An update is ready on initial start,” says the notification. ClamAV updates itself, so you don’t have to worry about it for the time being.
- Following that, the interface is simple to use; you may scan a file, a directory, or the whole system (in the analysis section).
- You may also modify the default settings and schedule a daily scan for the home directory in the configuration area. The update frequency may also be configured in the scheduler window.
ClamAV may be used in a terminal.
You can perform the same thing using the command line if you don’t have a desktop environment or want to run things in the background (excellent for scheduling scans or coding them, for example).
- Run the following command to scan the current folder: clamscan
- clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan -r /media/usb clamscan
- Also, I believe that using sudo for a full system scan is a good idea: clamscan / sudo
- Delete any questionable files automatically: —remove clamscan
- clamscan —move=/home/username/suspicious files/ clamscan —move=/home/username/suspicious files/
Create a new line in the crontab to schedule one of these tasks. If you’re interested, I go through everything in this post. It’s for Raspberry Pi, but it’ll work on Ubuntu as well since they’re both based on Debian. If you wish, you may execute a command on boot (another article I wrote to do this).
How can I tell whether Ubuntu is infected?
If ClamAV detects a possible danger on your system after you install it on Ubuntu, you’ll get a warning. Depending on your settings, it may also delete the file or place it in quarantine. As a result, after you’ve installed the antivirus, you’re fairly secure.
Don’t worry too much; as shown in the preceding sections, viruses on Ubuntu are very uncommon. Before I finish this post, I’d like to discuss another danger that may damage your system; don’t miss the following section.
On Ubuntu computers, there are a variety of other security concerns.
Before I get into the instances, I should point out that viruses and malware aren’t the only security concerns on Ubuntu.
The majority of security issues with Ubuntu arise when you use a weak password. Short passwords are very simple to guess nowadays, and Ubuntu’s default settings do not protect you from such assaults, particularly if you use it as a server. To create a lengthy yet easy-to-remember password, use a password generator like this one.
Another danger is installing malware-infected add-ons and apps. It is not a good idea to download anything from questionable websites if you do not have an antivirus installed on your computer.
If you use Ubuntu as a server, you’ll be vulnerable to a variety of attacks based on the services you run and how they’re configured. If you put a WordPress website on it, for example, it may attract a lot of hackers. Because WordPress is so widely used, any security flaw is immediately exploited. However, regular updates and antivirus will keep you safe, even better than on Windows computers.
Not just WordPress, but any Ubuntu server may have one of its services exposed. Samba, Apache, remote access, and a variety of gaming servers are all susceptible to the same problems. The greater the number of users, the more interested hackers get in these apps.
Using a firewall and extra security such as Fail2ban to prevent malicious traffic is also a smart way to keep your system and network safe.
Finally, hardware poses the greatest danger. If you connect a USB device to your computer, it may get infected and “open a door” to your network or damage your system.
If you’d want to learn more about security, I’ve written an in-depth guide on the subject, which you can find here. I go through the top 17 Linux security risks and how to prevent them.
Resources for the Raspberry Pi
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get viruses on Ubuntu?
Yes, you can get viruses on Ubuntu.
Which antivirus is best for Ubuntu?
The best antivirus for Ubuntu is Avast.
Do you need virus protection on Linux?
Yes, you should always have virus protection on your Linux computer.
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