Does Ubuntu Linux Really Need Antivirus Software? 03/04/08
One of the people who switched to Ubuntu Linux recently, phoned me asking what kind of antivirus they should have installed. Quite frankly, I’ve never given that a thought. I’ve used Ubuntu for some time and have never had any virus issues, ever. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Linux is impervious to a computer virus, rather I’m suggesting that (currently) it’s not an issue. As a matter of fact, I did a bit of research and found out that there are viruses, worms and malware that effect our Linux based systems.
Needless to say, my original answer to this individual saying “I don’t think we need to worry too much about that”, was perhaps not the most accurate perception. Just look at these links which clearly list some of the nasties that can effect our Linux systems (and took less than 1 minute to find):
Viruses and Worms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_computer_viruses#Worms
Viruses: http://vx.netlux.org/ (http://vx.netlux.org/vl.php)
Needless to say, I’ve since installed antivirus on my Ubuntu system. Partly because of what I’ve learned in research and partly for ethical reasons. Imagine if an email sent to you contains a nasty Windows-based virus. Well… not being Windows based, I couldn’t care less, but if I forward a message that contains that payload to a windows user, he or she is not going to be happy (and in my opinion rightfully so). A couple others who are Linux users disagree with me saying, it’s up to everyone to protect their own systems. Personally, I think that perception is a band aid solution (and not very ethical). Think of it this way, if someone surreptitiously installed software on your system to participate in DDoS, would that be okay, as long as it did not effect you? Of course not! So the same ethics should apply to preventing our “safer” systems form forwarding on viruses and other negative payloads. The point is, if you have a computer virus, you don’t pass it around. But what’s a quick fix?
After Googling around a bit, I learned that AVG has a good antivirus of Linux. (And there are many others). I picked AVG simply because it was easy to find and subsequently, easy to install.
The download link for the Linux version is here: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/5390/us/frt/0?prd=afl Ubuntu users should select the .deb version (currently 7.5.51). Save that to your system, perhaps the desktop. (I did this using Ubuntu Feisty, 7.10). After the download has completed, it’s a simple matter to just double-click the .deb file (in my case it’s called “avg75fld-r51-a1243.i386.deb”).
The package installer will begin (and ask for your password). The install is seamless, it’ll do everything for you.
To use the antivirus, you’ll find a new icon here: Applications –> Accessories –> AVG for Linux Workstation. Simply click on that and follow along. Very easy, and only took a few minutes to do.
For those newer to Linux, or those looking for a quick antivirus solution, I hope this post was helpful!
Update 1: I found a nice tutorial on howtoforge.com that shows how to install Avast, Linux Home Edition on Ubuntu Linux (Gutsy). From their site: “…although there aren’t many Linux viruses out there, this can be useful if you often exchange files with Windows users – it can help you to not pass on any Windows viruses (that don’t do any harm to Linux systems) to Windows users. avast! Linux Home Edition is free for private and non-commercial use…” You can use the tutorial provided by them here: “Virus Protection With avast! Linux Home Edition On Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon”
Update 2: For those interested in a simple hands-on project, try this: Create a Linux Antivirus Server to Protect eMail – A Brief How to
[tags]linux, ubuntu, antivirus, discussion, malware, solution, avg, open source[/tags]