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Malware and Antivirus Systems for Linux

Each computer system may have a malware or viruses, including Linux. Fortunately, there are only a few viruses which can affect Linux, but users are usually not installing antivirus software but later on they pray that their OS is not endangered. It is recommended that users install these antivirus softwares on the Linux operating system that can be downloaded via Internet. Some users may argue that antivirus software consumes and uses too many resources. Thankfully, a low-footprint software exists for Linux. In order to better understand antivirus programs, it may be beneficial to firstly understand the malware itself.

Linux Viruses

Linux operating systems work on a completely different principle compared to Windows systems and, therefore, viruses made for Windows can not be activated and spread to computers installed with Linux. Linux does not use .exe files and files that are under Windows hidden here are visible.

Although Linux is a highly secure operating system, you can still find viruses on it. The number of users of Linux doubles every year, as you can see in the latest news. As the number of users increases, the number of viruses is directly proportional. Some of the viruses that infect Linux are: Linux.Bliss, Linux.Diesel, Linux.Satyr, Linux.Vit.4096, Linux.Winter, Linux.Zipworm etc. Most of these Linux viruses have a specific memory and by their nature, they are considered as parasites – they enter the file and change its size. The thing that also matters is that viruses or worms take advantage of flaws or holes in the code.

Linux products are not less exposed to attacks from other OS. Do not think that the Linux community is relaxed when it comes to viruses and other security breaches. Programmers who develop Linux do not ignore the existence of the virus, but in the beginning they make “open” operating system and there are literally thousands of possibilites for it to be attacked, since it’s vulnerable at this stage.

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How to resolve the issue?

There are many ways to prevent malware on the Linux operating systems. If there is a malware already, there are ways for it to be quickly removed.

The benefits of installing VPNs here are tremendous, primarly because they are safe and thus support the privacy of any device. Their role and possibilites are the same even with Linux, so this comes as one of protection methods.

If you are using the Linux operating system, it is enough to delete unwanted files and have those out, and then you have to re-connect the memory because it happens that you might miss something out and viruses are re-created. Depending on the antivirus software or from the malware, some antivirus scanners can clean infected files so that these files wouldn’t have to be deleted. If the user is not sure whether a file is in fact a malware, it can scan software and sandbox the program. Sandboxing is a security mechanism where the sandboxed application is being executed with restricted resources. Malware can not endanger the system because the restrictions keep that code from infecting the system or it is completely removed.

Virus scanners are security applications, which scan the system and find malwares. The scanners are seeking certain parts of the code or specific characteristics of the malware. Depending on the potential threat, virus scanner and settings, the malware can be deleted automatically or the user can be asked what to do with malicious software.

Popular antivirus programs

One of perhaps the most widespread and the most popular Linux antivirus softwares is ClamAV. ClamAV is a command-line antivirus program with a small resource footprint. This software is completely free and open-source under the GPL license. The updates are also free. There are also Clamtk, which is a free frontend (GUI) for ClamAV. Clamtk is licensed under the GPL license. Clamtk passes parameters to ClamAV, but Clamtk does not perform the scan or any other task itself. Also one of the excellent solutions is Sophos antivirus. It has a very heuristics-based detection, quickly and easily finds a virus and removes it. Sophos also finds and removes Android, Windows, and Mac malwares, which means that your Linux machine will not be a threat to any other devices. If you’re willing to spend a bit of cash, there are several superb Linux antivirus suites available, like Avast. Avast is a freemium antivirus software. Avast is not open-source and uses up resources like RAM. Many users feel that Avast offers more protection than ClamAV. The paid version of Avast offers numerous features that ClamAV lacks. For instance, Avast can sandbox applications.

Each computer and server should have antivirus, or at least some form of protection from malwares. The more you know the root of malwares and the manner they operate, the easier it is to protect the system against attacks. Nowadays, unfortunately, nothing is 100% safe on the Internet but we can keep the percentage high if we follow the rules.

About Author: Thomas lives and works as an Information Security Analyst in Baton Rouge, though his family originates from Italy. He is 28 years old, adores outdoor activities and he spends most of his time working from home in the company of his dog Reggie and his two goldfish. When it comes to humans, his favorite one is his girlfriend, Clara.
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