Clam AV

You may have read on more than one occasion that Linux is not susceptible to viruses. It is true that, because Linux doesn’t automatically run in root mode and because it contains more security, it isn’t anything like as susceptible to viruses as Windows is. However, I still recommend installing antivirus software.

I have been testing Clam AV because it comes in the Ubuntu repository. Simply typing in

sudo aptitude install clamtk

will pull in all of the parts of Clam AV that a normal user will need. Then it is a matter of starting up Clam AV from Applications > System Tools > Virus Scanner.

When I first ran Clam AV this evening, it reported that i had 3 viruses. A screen popped up with the names and locations of the suspect files. The delete function didn’t work – possibly because I am testing Karmic Koala (Ubuntu 9.10), which isn’t due out in final form until October. However, with the names and locations given, I could easily pull up the file manager, and then search for and delete the files manually.

Here are the results of my re-scan after deleting the suspect files.

One possibility for these viruses is, of course, a false alarm. (I prefer not to take any chances!) Another possibility is that they are Windows viruses, unable to infect a Linux machine but lurking until they can be passed onto the next Windows computer on the network or among your group of friends. There are enough Windows viruses out there that anyone on a network that includes Windows computers should consider taking precautions not to pass along any garbage.


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July 2009
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