How to Install and Use ClamAV on Ubuntu, Debian and Linux Mint


In today’s digital world, the threat of viruses and malware is an ever-present concern for computer users. Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems, is not immune to these threats. That’s where ClamAV comes in – a powerful and open-source antivirus software designed specifically for Linux-based systems like Ubuntu.

How to Install and Use ClamAV on Ubuntu

ClamAV provides real-time scanning capabilities that help detect and remove viruses and malware from your system before they can cause any damage. It is also highly customizable, allowing you to configure it to suit your specific needs.

One of the key benefits of using ClamAV on Ubuntu is its low resource usage. Unlike other antivirus programs that can slow down your system, ClamAV runs quietly in the background without affecting your computer’s performance. This makes it an ideal choice for servers and other resource-intensive applications.

In addition to its virus scanning capabilities, ClamAV also includes features like email scanning and automatic updates that ensure your system stays protected against the latest threats. With regular updates from the developers, you can be sure that ClamAV will always provide reliable protection against new and emerging threats.


ClamAV is a free and open-source antivirus software that can be installed on Ubuntu. It is designed to detect and remove viruses, malware, and other malicious threats from your system. In this section, we will discuss the prerequisites for ClamAV installation and provide you with a step-by-step guide to install ClamAV on Ubuntu.

Prerequisites for ClamAV installation

Before installing ClamAV on Ubuntu, there are certain prerequisites that you need to fulfill. These include:

  • Ubuntu version compatibility: ClamAV is compatible with all versions of Ubuntu. However, it is recommended to use the latest version of Ubuntu for better performance and security.
  • System requirements: Your system should meet the following requirements in order to install and run ClamAV:
  • At least 512 MB of RAM
  • 500 MB of free disk space
  • A processor with a speed of 1 GHz or higher

Step-by-step guide for installing ClamAV on Ubuntu

Now that you have fulfilled the prerequisites, you can proceed with the installation process. Follow these steps:

  1. Update system packages: Before installing any new software on your system, it is important to update the existing packages. Open the terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T and type the following command:
sudo apt-get update

This command will update all the packages on your system.

  1. Install ClamAV: Once your system is up-to-date, you can install ClamAV by typing the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install clamav clamav-daemon

This command will download and install ClamAV along with its daemon.

install ClamAV on Ubuntu
  1. Verify installation: After installing ClamAV, you need to verify whether it has been installed correctly or not. Type the following command in the terminal:
clamscan --version

If everything has been installed correctly, you should see the version number of ClamAV displayed on your screen.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed ClamAV on your Ubuntu system. Now let’s move on to learn how to use it for virus scanning and malware detection.


Once you have installed ClamAV on your Ubuntu system, you can use it for virus scanning and malware detection. There are two ways to use ClamAV: through its command-line interface or through a graphical user interface (GUI). In this section, we will discuss both methods.

Using Command-Line Interface (CLI)

Using CLI is one of the easiest ways to scan your files for viruses using ClamAV. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T.
  2. Navigate to the directory where you want to scan for viruses using cd command.
  3. Type clamscan followed by file/directory path that needs scanning.
  4. Hit Enter key.
  5. Wait until scanning completes.

For instance:

clamscan /home/user/Desktop/file.txt

This command scans “file.txt” located at “/home/user/Desktop/” directory.

Using Graphical User Interface (GUI)

If you prefer GUI over CLI then “Clamdscan” GUI tool comes handy here which allows users an easy way of interacting with CLAM AV scanner engine via graphical user interface(GUI).

To install “Clamdscan” GUI tool type this command in terminal:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

After successful installation open “Clamdscan” from applications search bar or type clamtks in terminal.

Updating ClamAV

Maintaining and updating any software regularly helps keep it secure against vulnerabilities and threats that may arise over time. The same applies to ClamAV as well; regular maintenance ensures optimal performance while keeping your system safe from malware attacks.

Here are some tips for maintaining and updating ClamAV on your Ubuntu system:

  • Updating virus definitions: Virus definitions are updated regularly by developers as they discover new threats in real-time scenarios so make sure always update them before running any scan.

To update virus definitions open Terminal & type:

sudo freshclam
  • Scheduling scans: Regularly scheduled scans help maintain optimal performance while ensuring complete protection against potential threats.
  • Removing false positives: False positives refer when antivirus detects legitimate files as malicious ones due to outdated database or some other reason so always check logs after each scan & restore those files if necessary.


ClamAV is a powerful tool for scanning your Ubuntu system for viruses and malware. Once you have installed ClamAV, you can use it to scan individual files or directories, or you can set up automated scans to run at regular intervals.

To scan a file or directory using ClamAV, simply open a terminal window and type the following command:

sudo clamscan [options] [file/directory]

Replace [options] with any additional options you want to use, such as -r to recursively scan subdirectories. Replace [file/directory] with the path to the file or directory you want to scan.

ClamAV Scan for Malware

When the scan is complete, ClamAV will display a summary of its findings. If any viruses or malware are detected, ClamAV will provide details about them and recommend actions you can take to remove them from your system.

It’s important to note that while ClamAV is a powerful tool for detecting viruses and malware on your Ubuntu system, it is not foolproof. It’s still possible for some types of malware to evade detection by ClamAV, so it’s important to use other security measures in conjunction with ClamAV.

In addition to scanning individual files and directories, you can also set up automated scans using ClamAV. To do this, you’ll need to create a cron job that runs the clamscan command at regular intervals (such as once per day).

To set up an automated scan using Crontab, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Type crontab -e and press Enter.
  3. In the editor that opens, add a new line containing the following code:
0 0 * * * /usr/bin/clamscan -r / > /dev/null

This code will run the clamscan command once per day at midnight (0 0 * * *) and recursively scan all files on your system (-r /). The output of the command will be redirected to /dev/null, which means it will not be displayed on screen.

  1. Save and close the editor.

With this cron job in place, ClamAV will automatically run a full system scan once per day at midnight. You can adjust the timing of the scan by modifying the cron job settings as needed.


Maintenance is an essential aspect of running any software, including ClamAV. Keeping up to date with virus definitions and configuring ClamAV for optimal performance can help ensure that your Ubuntu system remains protected against malware and viruses.

Updating ClamAV virus definitions is critical to maintaining the effectiveness of the software. Virus definitions are a set of instructions that tell ClamAV how to detect specific types of malware and viruses. As new threats arise, it is crucial to update these definitions regularly. Fortunately, updating virus definitions in ClamAV is a straightforward process. You can use the freshclam command to update the virus database manually or schedule automatic updates using cron jobs.

Configuring ClamAV for optimal performance involves tweaking various settings within the software. For example, you can adjust the maximum file size that ClamAV scans or configure it to exclude certain directories from scans. These settings can help reduce scan times and prevent false positives.

Another important aspect of maintaining ClamAV on your Ubuntu system is keeping it up to date with security patches and updates. The development team behind ClamAV regularly releases updates that fix bugs and address security vulnerabilities. It’s essential to stay up to date with these updates to ensure that your system remains secure.

In addition to these maintenance tasks, it’s also worth considering implementing additional security measures alongside ClamAV. For example, you could install a firewall or use a VPN service when browsing online. These additional measures can help provide an extra layer of protection against potential threats.


In conclusion, ClamAV is an essential tool for Ubuntu users and system administrators who want to keep their systems safe from viruses and malware. With its easy installation process and user-friendly interface, ClamAV makes it simple to scan your system for threats and ensure that your files are secure. Regular virus scans are crucial for maintaining the health of your system, as new threats are constantly emerging. By following our step-by-step guide to installing and using ClamAV on Ubuntu, you can take proactive steps towards protecting your data and ensuring the smooth operation of your system. Additionally, keeping ClamAV up-to-date is important for staying protected against new threats. By regularly checking for updates and applying them promptly, you can ensure that your system is always equipped with the latest security features.


Here are some frequently asked questions about ClamAV on Ubuntu:

  • What types of files can ClamAV scan? ClamAV can scan a wide range of file types, including documents, archives, executables, and more. It can also detect many types of malware, such as viruses, trojans, and worms.
  • Can ClamAV remove malware from my system? While ClamAV is primarily designed for detecting malware, it does have the ability to remove infected files from your system. However, it’s important to note that removing infected files may not always completely eliminate the threat.
  • How often should I update ClamAV? It’s recommended to update ClamAV at least once a day in order to stay protected against the latest threats. You can set up automatic updates using the freshclam tool or manually update using the command line.
  • Can I use ClamAV with other antivirus software? Yes, you can use ClamAV alongside other antivirus software for added protection. However, it’s important to note that running multiple antivirus programs simultaneously can impact system performance.

Overall, installing and using ClamAV on Ubuntu is a straightforward process that provides an essential layer of security for your system. By following our step-by-step guide and tips for maintenance and updating, you can ensure that your system stays protected against viruses and malware.

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