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Antivirus for Ubuntu 18.04: Do You Need One and What’s the Best Free Option?

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In the world of cybersecurity, the question of whether or not you need an antivirus for Ubuntu 18.04 is a common one. This article will aim to answer that question, and also suggest the best free antivirus options available for Ubuntu users.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is recommended to have an antivirus for Ubuntu 18.04 as it adds an extra layer of protection against potential threats. Two popular free options for antivirus software on Ubuntu are ClamAV and Rkhunter.

Do You Need an Antivirus for Ubuntu 18.04?

In general, the Linux operating system, which includes Ubuntu, is designed to be secure and resistant to viruses and malware. This is due to various reasons such as the Linux kernel architecture, the permissions system, and the fact that most malware is targeted towards Windows systems.

However, this does not mean that Ubuntu is completely immune to threats. There are instances where Linux systems can be compromised, especially if the user is not careful about their online activities and system settings. Therefore, while an antivirus is not a necessity for Ubuntu 18.04, it can add an extra layer of protection and peace of mind.

Best Free Antivirus Options for Ubuntu 18.04

ClamAV

One of the most popular free antivirus software for Ubuntu is ClamAV. It is an open-source antivirus engine designed for detecting Trojans, viruses, malware and other malicious threats.

To install ClamAV, you can use the terminal with the following command:

sudo apt-get install clamav clamav-daemon

The sudo command is used to execute the following command with administrative privileges. apt-get install is the command to install packages, and clamav clamav-daemon are the packages you want to install.

After the installation, you can run a system scan with the following command:

sudo clamscan -r / 

The -r option is used to scan directories recursively.

Rkhunter

Rkhunter (Rootkit Hunter) is not an antivirus software per se, but it’s a tool that can be used to scan for rootkits, backdoors, and local exploits on your system.

To install Rkhunter, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install rkhunter

After the installation, you can perform a system check with the following command:

sudo rkhunter --check

The --check option is used to start the checking process.

General Security Practices

In addition to considering an antivirus, it’s important to follow general security best practices:

  1. Install software from trusted sources: The Ubuntu Software Centre is a trusted source of software. Avoid downloading and installing software from untrusted sources.
  2. Keep your system updated: Regularly update your system with the latest patches and upgrades.
  3. Use strong passwords: Ensure that your passwords are strong and unique.
  4. Enable the built-in firewall: Ubuntu comes with a built-in firewall called UFW (UncomplicatedFireWall). You can enable it using the command sudo ufw enable.

In conclusion, while an antivirus is not strictly necessary for Ubuntu 18.04, it can provide an extra layer of security. ClamAV and Rkhunter are two free options that can help protect your system. However, the best defense against threats is following good security practices.

Is Ubuntu 18.04 completely immune to viruses and malware?

While Ubuntu 18.04 is designed to be secure and resistant to viruses and malware, it is not completely immune to threats. It is important to exercise caution and follow good security practices to minimize the risk of compromise.

Can I use ClamAV and Rkhunter together on Ubuntu 18.04?

Yes, you can use both ClamAV and Rkhunter together on Ubuntu 18.04. ClamAV focuses on detecting and removing viruses and malware, while Rkhunter scans for rootkits, backdoors, and local exploits. Using them in conjunction can provide a more comprehensive protection for your system.

How often should I run a system scan with ClamAV or Rkhunter?

The frequency of system scans depends on your usage and security needs. It is recommended to run a system scan with ClamAV or Rkhunter at least once a week to ensure any potential threats are detected. Additionally, it is a good practice to run a scan after installing new software or whenever you suspect a compromise.

Can I install antivirus software other than ClamAV and Rkhunter on Ubuntu 18.04?

Yes, there are several other antivirus options available for Ubuntu 18.04. Some popular choices include Sophos Antivirus for Linux, Bitdefender Antivirus Scanner for Unices, and Avast Antivirus for Linux. However, it is important to note that these antivirus software may not be available for free or may have limited free versions.

Are there any risks associated with installing antivirus software on Ubuntu 18.04?

While installing antivirus software can add an extra layer of protection, it is important to be cautious about the sources from which you download and install antivirus software. Only download antivirus software from trusted sources to minimize the risk of installing malware or compromised software on your system.

Can I use a combination of antivirus software on Ubuntu 18.04?

It is generally not recommended to use multiple antivirus software simultaneously on the same system. Running multiple antivirus software can lead to conflicts and performance issues. It is best to choose one reliable antivirus software and use it consistently for protection.

What should I do if ClamAV or Rkhunter detects a threat on my Ubuntu 18.04 system?

If ClamAV or Rkhunter detects a threat on your system, it is recommended to follow the instructions provided by the antivirus software to quarantine or remove the threat. Additionally, you should also consider conducting a thorough system scan to ensure no other threats are present. If you are unsure about how to handle the detected threat, seeking assistance from a cybersecurity professional is advisable.

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