Cybersecurity is one thing that the average person may not think about. They may (or may not) have an antivirus to protect their system, and it may (or may not) work to keep them safe online.
Malware, viruses, and hackers evolve every single day, and the best antiviruses work harder to defend against them.
We are passionate about educating people to choose the best cybersecurity products on the market, which is why we today we will discuss the seemingly secure, open-source operating system, Linux.
If you use the well-known open-source operating system, Linux, you may wonder if you need an antivirus to protect your system. I hear all the time that Linux users don’t need antiviruses, and while a few years ago, this may have been true, today it is not.
You see, Linux users don’t face the same risks that PC and Mac users do, but there are still online threats that affect this operating system and more being designed every day.
Additionally, Ubuntu is a free, open-source Linux distribution based on Debian. If you use Ubuntu, these Linux recommendations will apply to you, too.
We did the research for you, as we love to do, and found the best free Linux cybersecurity tools on the market in 2020. With no further chatting, here you go:
Best Free Antivirus Protection for Linux/Ubuntu in 2020
1. ClamAV: Best Free Open-Source Antivirus Scanner for Linux
ClamAV is an open-source antivirus engine, meaning that its virus directory is constantly updated by anyone around the globe. All you do is contribute to the directory using ClamAv’s sigtool function, which strengthens its antivirus scanner. This software will detect trojans, viruses, malware, and other malicious threats.
We love ClamAV as a powerful antivirus scanner, but those new to Linux may want to start with ClamTk. It features the same functions as ClamAV, but with a simple Graphic User Interface (GUI), so it’s a bit simpler to use.
More advanced users should start with ClamAV. You can scan specific folders, whitelist certain software as safe, and delete potential threats. The multi-threaded scanner daemon will scan specific files and provide automatic signature updates.
ClamAV is our top free antivirus scanner for Linux users. It’s available in every software repository, and the fact that it’s open-source means its virus directory is vast and continuously updated. You can schedule scans, delete files, and add to the malware directory.
For newbies, try the ClamTk first, which includes the basic antivirus functions with an easy to use interface. Since ClamAV is completely free, there’s no reason not to check it out!
2. Sophos: Best Low-Impact Virus Scanner for Individuals
Sophos is an excellent cybersecurity program (read our review here), and it is one of the most popular antiviruses for Linux on the market. It does not feature an open-source Linux community like ClamAV, but it’s still an excellent protection software.
Sophos Antivirus for Linux is known for its fast malware detection and on-demand scanning or scheduled scanning. New users may need to research some tutorials to set up the software since there’s no desktop GUI, but once you get going, Sophos is easy to use.
You can also visit the support forum here for answers to questions you may have. The lightweight software keeps your system secure without slowing it down. Protection updates are usually under 50 KB, so updates will be easy on your network.
Sophos features advanced heuristics in its malware detection, meaning that it detects malware based on its behavior instead of tagging it by source code. This means that it is just as effective as an open-source program like ClamAV.
Unfortunately, Sophos is only free for one Linux user per account, so that’s its only downside. If you want more protection for multiple users, you could upgrade to the Sophos paid plan, which will offer more security tools.
Sophos is a good choice for individuals with a good knowledge of command-line interface. The heuristic analysis is especially effective and will detect 100% malware. The low CPU usage is another plus!
3. Firetools: Best for Sandboxing with GUI
What is sandboxing? Sandboxing refers to when a program is isolated from other programs so that if security issues occur, they won’t spread to other areas on your computer. High-quality sandboxing tools are essential for cybersecurity.
Firetools is a graphical user interface (GUI) of Firejail security sandbox, an open-source app for malware testing, and internet browser security. It provides a sandbox launcher, sandbox editing, management, and statistics. This software is essential for Linux users.
This software is perfect for malware testing or isolating a web browser to protect your files from malicious web scripts. With Firetools, you can browse the internet without worrying about web-based scripting attacking your system. This software is low-impact and completely free!
Firetools is a user-friendly sandboxing software to keep your system safe from harmful web scripts. The fact that it is open-source means it’s constantly updated, keeping you as safe as possible from the newest malware. The GUI makes it simple to use, and it won’t slow down your computer. Best of all, it’s free!
4. Rootkit Hunter: Best Rootkit Scanner for Linux
A rootkit is malicious computer software designed to gain access to a computer while hiding its presence. Once installed on a system, the rootkit can control the computer without the owner knowing. Rootkits are hard to detect, and unfortunately, they are some of the most dangerous malware out there.
Rootkit Hunter was designed with effective principles: first, it searches known rootkits from its database, then it performs analysis for suspicious behavior. This technique is effective for tracking down the latest rootkits.
Please note that Rootkit Hunter is not for newbies. However, there are some helpful YouTube tutorials available to help you get set up. Some customers said it took a bit of trial and error, but once it was installed, it was easy to use.
The good news is that Rootkit Hunter is extremely effective at locating and blocking threats, and it’s well-known and recommended in the Linux community. It features a low CPU load, so it won’t slow down your system, and of course, it’s free! Also, it’s great for either individuals or large businesses.
Rootkit Hunter may take some time and research to get started, but it’s well worth it. Once you get it configured, the program will run smoothly and efficiently. Whether you are an individual user or part of a large business, this software is worth checking out for extra protection for your system.
5. QubesOS: Best Linux OS for Highest Security
Each of the security systems on our list is a great additions to a Linux OS, but Qubes OS is designed to be the most secure operating system on the globe. Seriously, this software is highly recommended by the best-known security experts including, ACLU, The Intercept, and The Economist.
What sets Qubes OS apart is that it gives users the ability to separate functions into individual domains, called Quebes. Qubes are virtual machines, and they work as separate devices while running distinct operating systems, yet they are all part of the same system.
Isolating the system into various parts keeps hackers from infecting the whole system. This design makes Qubes extremely effective.
Most customers report that installing Qubes OS is not difficult, and once it’s configured, it’s so easy to use. You can divide your Qubes into any categories you like: work, USB ports, firewall, to name a few.
The only thing we don’t like is that gaming is not supported; although streaming media, image editing, and software, and word processors all work fine.
As a Linux user, if you want the most comprehensive security for your system, go with Qubes OS. Like all of our recommendations on this list, it’s completely free and impressively secure.
6. Comodo: Best for New Linux Users
Comodo is a cybersecurity software that we must mention for Linux users. (Read our full review here.) Comodo has a smart design and behavioral analysis, making it capable of detecting even the most hidden suspicious activity. It offers real-time protection, on-demand, scheduled, cloud-based scanning, sandbox, and email filtering.
Comodo has the option for you to run browsers in a sandbox, which will protect your information and privacy. The virtual desktop creates a safe space outside your main one for easy accessibility. The daily automatic updates will keep you up-to-date on the latest viruses.
Email filtering is another perk of Comodo. The Mail Gateway blocks email-borne viruses and spam from ever getting into your system. It works by sending malicious emails or spam straight to quarantine.
Linux Comodo users rave about easy this software is to use and install. This is a great option for newbies who may not be tech-savvy. All you do is install and forget about it, and you will get solid virus protection.
Comodo will protect you with several layers of security, and its behavioral analysis is especially effective. We love Comodo because it’s so easy to use, even for brand new Linux users who may not feel comfortable trying to navigate through tutorials and FAQs in order to get an antivirus software installed. It’s free, of course, so you have nothing to lose in trying Comodo!
Other Linux Antiviruses Worth Checking Out
While these six are the best free Linus antiviruses we found, you can also check out Avast Core, which is Avast’s version for Linux. Read our full review of Avast here. Bitdefender is also worth checking out.
It does not feature a completely free version, but it does offer a 30-day free trial. Here is our review of Bitdefender.
Frequently Asked Questions about Linux Antiviruses
We have compiled some of the most common questions about Linux computers and antiviruses. Make sure you understand how the Linux system works so you can get the best protection possible for your system.
Do Linux computers really need antivirus protection?
We touched on this in the beginning, but it’s important to dispel the myth that Linux computers don’t need antiviruses. It is true that the Linux community works hard to limit threats and vulnerabilities, but there are still plenty of ways cybercriminals can break through Linux systems.
Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of Linux-specific malware out there. There are also online security threats that can pass through your browser. It’s too easy to accidently download malware, but tools like the six we recommended will prevent this.
Can Linux infect PC/Mas with malware?
Yes. Linux users can accidentally forward email malware to Mac and PC computers. In fact, Linux users typically don’t scan their devices for Mac and PC-specific malware, so it would be easy to pass this on to Macs/PCs.
It’s important to use an antivirus that eliminates these threats not just for your system, but to other systems.
Are Linux antiviruses easy to use?
Sometimes. It depends on which one you’re trying out. Some on our list, including Comodo, is easy to use for new Linux users. ClamTk is also a great beginner antivirus. It’s the GUI version of ClamAV.
If you’re a Linux user, you will need to understand your way around command-line interfaces. Once you get used to this and gain some basic knowledge, you will be able to use any Linux antivirus with no problem.