Do I even need one?
Linux has many benefits that make many people want to use it as their main operating system. One of these benefits is strong security. This security mostly stems from the fact that programs are typically run as a user instead of as root (admin) so the damage a malicious program could do is somewhat limited. It also stems from Linux‘s very nature; it‘s an open source operating system to which many people contribute their time to improve and packages are not rushed by a central corporate authority before they are truly finished. Linux is not often targeted with malicious programs and the average user will likely never encounter a malicious program during their Linux use. Nevertheless, having an anti-virus that can scan both your Linux OS and a Windows installation, among other things, can be very useful.
While you yourself may not encounter malicious programs that will affect your Linux machine, you could encounter ones that could affect others’ machines. To that end, some anti-virus programs support scanning Windows based machines (as well as others on the same network), scanning E-mail attachments before you forward/send them to others, and any other files that you plan on sharing otherwise.
Okay, so what do I use?
There are many anti-virus programs available through whatever package manager you may be using. Some popular ones include:
- AVG Antivirus
- Avast! Linux Home Edition
- Comodo Antivirus for Linux
- BitDefender Antivirus
Installing these programs is very straight forward. Just go to your package manger or download and install them. Alternatively, you can refer to their respective websites and use terminal.
It should be noted that some anti-virus programs on Linux do not have a GUI (Graphical User Interface) so they must be accessed through terminal commands. When choosing an anti-virus program, make sure you‘re choosing one that has a a user interface that you‘re comfortable with.
You should now be well on your way to improving the security of both your system and those of the people around you. Farewell and browse safely!