ClamAV – Linux Anti Virus Solution

ClamAV is a GNU/GPL Antivirus application made for Unix-like operating system. It is primarily use to detect viruses and remove infected files from email attachements.

The default installation of ClamAV also includes a command line scanner to files for possible virus infection. The scanner has built in support to scan files inside :

  • Common Archives (zip,rar,tar,gzip,bzip2,arj)
  • Windows Compressed files (CHM,CAB,OLE2)
  • Mail format (mbox, uuencode, base64)
  • Common document files (html,pdf,rtf,sxw,odt)

Linux is safe and Secure, Why do you need anti virus on Linux ?
Although viruses in Unix-like operating system is uncommon, ClamAV is still handy if you want to weed out those viruses from spreading through your mail system and using your computer server as a vector.

Using ClamAV
Using ClamAV is easy, to scan for viruses you only need to use the ‘clamscan’ command

$ clamscan

/home/mypapit/mypapit.js: OK
/home/mypapit/ubuntu_service.png: OK
/home/mypapit/style.css: OK
/home/mypapit/repo1.png: OK
/home/mypapit/bg_button2.jpg: OK
/home/mypapit/repo1tn.png: OK
/home/mypapit/ OK
/home/mypapit/javapackage.png: OK
/home/mypapit/jdk14.png: OK

The scanner will detect any known viruses and alert you and a summary will be displayed at the end of the command.

add ‘–remove’ switch to remove the files that has been detected by virus.

$ clamscan --remove

Note that ClamAV has a policy of ‘sanitizing’ any files infected by viruses, that means it will delete the files permanently (it has no ‘heal’ or ‘repair’ option).

Updating Virus Database
Keeping up to date with ClamAV is easy, you just need to run freshclam to download the latest virus database from ClamAV servers.

$ sudo freshclam

The official website for ClamAV is on, hopefully with this post, you can explore more option about fighting viruses on Linux based operating system.


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