Installing ClamAV antivirus software on Ubuntu 8.10

January 23, 2009

You may have heard or read from many sources that there is no need for any antivirus software on Ubuntu/Linux. This is not completely true. Yes, if you’re using Linux you are not facing the same threat level as a Windows user as there are only very few viruses/trojans/worms aimed at Linux users compared to those aimed Windows users. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe or you should be careless.

As we all know, the number of Linux users is increasing rapidly and this means these will be an increase in the number of threats towards Linux systems. So it is wise to have an antivirus software installed on your computer. This post talks about how to install ClamAV on Ubuntu.  However if you don’t like ClamAV, you can check out some other alternatives, like the Linux editions of Kaspersky, AVG and Avast.

Installing ClamAV is quite easy. First open a new Terminal window (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and execute the following command.

sudo apt-get install clamav-daemon

(Note: clamav-daemon will gets virus defintitions automatically for you. If you want to do that manually replace clamav-daemon in the above command with just clamav.)

As ClamAV does not come with a GUI you have to interact with it using Terminal and this may not be convenient for new users. Therefore the next step is to install ClamTK which is a GUI front-end for ClamAM. ClamTK will already be available in your Add/Remove programs, but I don’t recomment you use that as it is an older version.

The next step is to get the ClamTK .deb package. After you download it, double-click on it to start the installation. Once the installation is complete you can open it by going to Applications -> System Tools -> Virus Scanner.

Important note for Ubuntu 8.10 users: the first time you run ClamTK, you will be asked how you want to update your signatures – select “System Wide”, not “Single User”. Then save your settings.


That’s all! The installation is now complete.