My Pet VirusesIf you’re running Linux the chances are probably pretty good that you’re not using an antivirus application. This is a common practice among personal Linux users since viruses aren’t as rampant as they are on Windows.




There’s no doubt that the viruses still exist for Linux, and that is cause for some people, especially corporate users, to want an antivirus solution that works well. Untangle took it upon themselves to try 10 of the available antivirus applications for Linux. They did it live at LinuxWorld where they tested 18 known viruses. Many of these have been in the wild for quite some time (some even years), and so it was expected that all the applications would catch them. As it turns out only Kaspersky Linux, the open source Clam AV, and Norton finished the test at 100%!

None of those were zero-day viruses, and so they did another test that contained user samples. They weren’t completely sure as to what those viruses were, but they said they were "fairly confident some were newer “zero-day” viruses, and some were ‘custom’ viruses." In the end these were the overall results:

Antivirus on Linux

Here is the response from Untangle regarding the results:

As always, we are surprised by how poor many of these solutions are performing. Contrary to many statements, Clam is a top performer, and also ran 10 times faster than many solutions. Kaspersky is clearly an excellent engine, and Norton also performed well although it consumed lots of resources on the test machine. The rest of the solutions, some of which are quite expensive, were mediocre to terrible.

This raises many questions… Why has no one publicized this? What is wrong with the way we are testing antivirus solutions? Why do some testing labs claim Clam does significantly worse than commercial solutions?

According the results of this test the best price vs. quality application that you could use is Clam AV. It’s free, consistently ranks high, and the people running the tests said that it is about 10-times faster at scanning than the comparable solutions (some of which are commercial). I was a little disappointed that they didn’t try out other free programs like Avast! for Linux or AVG for Linux, but they did make their set of viruses available so that other people can run the tests themselves.

Thanks for the tip CoryC – via SlashDot