7 Best (REALLY FREE) Antivirus for Linux in 2018

Aviva Zacks
Posted: October 14, 2018

You don’t often hear about Linux machines becoming infected with viruses and malware. But that doesn’t mean it never happens. Hackers do still target Linux users and you could be one of them. So we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 antivirus programs so you can keep your Linux device safe from hackers.

Because let’s not kid ourselves. Using Linux doesn’t make you immune to viruses and malware. Attacks can and do still happen. And because Linux is often used to run servers, machines linked to an infected server may be at risk if your system becomes compromised by a virus.

When it comes to a good antivirus, free doesn’t always mean best. What’s really important is the opportunity to try before you buy. We’ve done plenty of research to narrow down the best Linux antivirus software on the market. And after extensive testing, we’ve determined that these are the best free ones (or ones with free trials) for Linux users that actually work.

Quick Links: 7 Best Antivirus for Linux

  1. ClamWin
  2. Bitdefender
  3. Sophos
  4. Comodo
  5. Avast Core Security
  6. F-PROT
  7. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4

 

1. ClamWin

Clamwin

Let’s start with one of the most widely-known solutions for Linux. ClamWin (see our user reviews) is an open-source antivirus that is still under continual development. The program is installed to the main repository – at least that is the case for Ubuntu machines.

Features

  • Command-line interface scanner
  • Regular updates
  • Email scanning
  • Supports a variety of files, such as PDF, Office, and Zip files

What We Like

  • Easy installation and setup
  • Fast operation
  • Cross-compatibility with Windows and MacOS
  • Portable installation

What We Don’t Like

  • No native Graphical User Interface (GUI), but you can download your own

What It Does Best

ClamWin works very well as a long-term, versatile antivirus, especially if you’ll also need to work with Windows and MacOS machines. It runs quietly from the command-line so this Linux antivirus is very private.

Want to try it yourself? See ClamWin Deals >>>

 


2. Bitdefender

Bitdefender reviews

Bitdefender (see our user reviews) is a popular antivirus for Windows users, but its Linux version is worth looking into too. It isn’t technically free, but it does offer a free trial version.

Features

  • Archive scanning
  • Desktop integration
  • Threat quarantine
  • Can be run on the command-line

What We Like

  • Supports Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD
  • Separate installers for Samba and Unix
  • Intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI)

What We Don’t Like

  • Bitdefender is no longer being supported, so it’s a short-term solution
  • You have to pay for some advanced features

What It Does Best

Bitdefender’s comprehensive scanning will appeal to those seeking a powerful but short-term antivirus. However, if you’re looking for a long term solution, it’s best looking at another option like ClamWin.

Want to try it yourself? See Bitdefender Deals >>>

 


3. Sophos

Sophos antivirus

Sophos (see our user reviews) scored highly when we tested it for malware detection and even offers protection for operating systems other than Linux with minimal impact on performance.

Features

  • Heuristic-based malware detection
  • On-demand real-time scanning
  • Malware protection for other operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, and Android
  • Can be run through the terminal

What We Like

  • Excellent protection against worms, Trojans, and malware
  • Low system performance impact
  • Update files are small
  • The option to exclude certain files

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t come with a built-in Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • You have to pay for anti-ransomware

What It Does Best

Sophos is perfect for file servers that interact with other operating systems. It is great for ensuring you don’t accidentally distribute malware to your clients.

Want to try it yourself? See Sophos Deals >>>

 


4. Comodo

Comodo

Comodo (see our user reviews) is compatible with a lot of operating systems and hardware. It does have limitations when it comes to anti-malware though.

Features

  • Email filtering
  • On-demand real-time scanning
  • Real-time protection
  • Regular virus definition updates
  • Server-side compatibility

What We Like

  • Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, enabling backward compatibility with older hardware
  • Supports a variety of operating systems, including Ubuntu, Mint, Red Hat, and Fedora

What We Don’t Like

  • Threat detection is somewhat weaker than the competition

What It Does Best

Comodo sets itself apart from with its broad compatibility range. That means it works with just about any operating system.

Want to try it yourself? See Comodo Deals >>>

 


5. Avast Core Security

Avast!

Avast (see user reviews) already has a great reputation as a decent Windows antivirus, and its Linux software is no different. Both versions share the same malware database and it’s passed the AV-Test for anti-malware and anti-spyware with flying colours.

Features

  • Real-time protection
  • On-demand scanning
  • Scan scheduling
  • Core protection
  • Network security
  • File server protection
  • Regular updates
  • Can be run from the command-line

What We Like

  • Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems
  • Supports various operating systems like Red Hat, Debian, and Ubuntu
  • Can find malware on dual-booted systems with other operating systems
  • Constantly being developed and updated

What We Don’t Like

  • Not much really, it’s a solid antivirus

What It Does Best

Avast’s impressive list of features makes it perfect for file servers. It’s ability to detect Windows malware also makes it great for dual-booters.

Want to try it yourself? See Avast Deals >>>

 


6. F-PROT

F-PROT (see user reviews) offers both Home and Enterprise editions of its antivirus. However, only the home version, which we tested, is free.

Features

  • On-demand scanning
  • Scheduled scans
  • Protection against Trojans and boot sector viruses
  • Supports internal drives and drivers

What We Like

  • Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems
  • Comprehensive threat directory
  • Low performance impact
  • Portable installation

What We Don’t Like

  • It has a cluttered user interface

What It Does Best

F-PROT is best for users looking for a no-frills antivirus that does the basics. Plus, it has one of the most comprehensive malware directories.

Want to try it yourself? See F-PROT Deals >>>

 


7. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4

ESET (see user reviews) was built exclusively for Linux. While it isn’t technically free, it does offer a trial period and it scores among the best in the AV-Test.

Features

  • Virus and Trojan detection
  • File security
  • Network scanning
  • Remote management
  • Regular updates

What We Like

  • Exceptionally strong malware detection
  • Compatible with Windows, MacOS and multiple operating systems of Linux

What We Don’t Like

  • You have to pay for the program after the trial expires

What It Does Best

ESET is popular with server managers. With a great compatibility rate and the ability to work remotely, it can run multiple servers using different operating systems around the world at the same time. 

Want to try it yourself? See ESET Deals >>>

 

Final Thoughts

While Linux users may be less at risk than those using more commercial operating systems like Windows, nothing is ever completely secure. It’s important to invest in a decent antivirus software program that’s based on a variety of factors, such as what’s appropriate for file servers, dual boosters and multiple devices, and not just the fact that it’s free. And as the best antivirus software is constantly being developed, updated and improved, we’re always testing our recommended Linux antivirus software. We’d love to hear your thoughts. What is your favourite antivirus program for protecting your Linux device? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.