I am looking for some free antivirus software for a machine running Linux Mint.

(n.b. I'm still a bit new to Linux, I have read somewhere that Linux usually doesn't need antivirus, but I'd like to have some just in case.)

Preferably something that meets these requirements:

  • Free/No Cost
  • Reliable i.e. from a reputable source
  • Receives regular definition updates
  • Ability to schedule regular scans
  • automatic alerts
  • although it's not a recent article, it is still true and good explained: howtogeek.com/135392/… Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 9:59
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    An "anti-something" is only good if there is a "something" to fight, isn't it? So what do you want to do with an Anti-Virus on Linux – except burning resources? True, there are some Linux-bases AV programs. But they're usually intended to fend-off stuff for Windows users, e.g. on mail servers. ClamAV is such a candidate, which is available from the repositories (apt install clamav).
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 11:35
  • @Izzy Thanks, I guess what I was looking for is/was software for preventative maintenance. I'll take a look at clamav.
    – 0-60FPS
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:04
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    As I wrote, if you're concerned about your Mint machine, there won't be a need. I have ClamAV running on my mail server. It never found anything that would affect a Linux machine (though it found some attachments harmful for Windows machines). The "brain binary" should suffice on Linux :) Using it that way for ~20 years now, never installed any AntiVirus on my Linux workhorses :)
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 18:09
  • Izzy, while I agree that virus is not a worry for Linux users, "anti-virus" packages usually offer other services too, such as watching out for Browsr-nasties which might try to steal your data ...
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:06

3 Answers 3

  • first: basically...
    running continuously a antivirus software on a usual linux-desktop is more a service to the windows-users you are interacting with, than something else.
    you may have a look at this: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Antivirus

  • second: my personal experience...
    it is nearly 10 years ago, i started using linux... for the first year as dualboot (without any antivirus on linux - i still had all i need on windows) and after a windows-crash i converted completely. since then i never had a problem with any kind of malware, and i'm a very curious person.
    i just reinstall my OS (which is most of the time also Linux Mint MATE ;-) ) only when i want to and not approx every 1-2 years because of malware or any other deficiencies.

  • third: my recommendation...

    1. scan all your personal files on linux and/or windows
      (from the security-point of view a uncompromisable linux live-cd would be the best, but don't overthink the things...)
    2. just install software from trusted sources; keep your software updated and just run commands you know/trust
      --> that's how to be and stay safe and happy with linux ;-)
    3. and if you want to take care of all the poor windows-users you are exchanging files with, scan every now and then your (new) files.
  • fourth: the particular software:
    i use THE open source antivirus clamav with the GUI clamtk.

    • it is free also as in free beer
    • it is reputable because you can read the complete source
    • the ClamAV Virus Database (CVD) is updated at least every four hours and is kept up to date with freshclam
    • you can schedule scans rudimentary with the GUI clamtk, but you have the full power of the command-line with cron and anacron
  • Thank you for the advice. About your recommandation: For a file sharing Linux server with Windows client, do you recommend setting an antivirus on the server? Connexions would be made from the office and remotely in SFTP. About 10 users.
    – OuzoPower
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 11:49
  • @OuzoPower: as Izzy told in his comment... i wouldn't be too much concerned about your linux-server (because of usual malware), but if you have the recourses left and you are willing to provide a kind of a "cleaning-service" for your windows-users/-clients you may give clamav a try. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 17:06

Clamav is about the only free software out there for any linux.

Several vendors have commericial versions.


Clam AV as of 2022 usually updates once daily. Most of their signatures are prepared from a malware feed from Virus Total. They select approximately 1,000 malware samples for which to develop a signature. Their signatures are developed primarily for malware that would likely be sent to email servers for distribution to their Windows users. You won't find many signatures for APT malware intended for government, military, fortune 500 users. Regards,

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    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 0:37

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