How to Install ClamAV on Ubuntu and Configure It [24 Easy Steps]

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Last updated: July 10, 2023

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To install ClamAV on Ubuntu, you can follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Update system: Open Terminal and run sudo apt update to update package lists.
  2. Install ClamAV: Execute sudo apt install clamav clamav-daemon -y to install ClamAV and its daemon.
  3. Update database: Run sudo freshclam to download the latest signature database.
  4. Scan for viruses: Use clamscan /path/to/directory to scan a specific directory for viruses.
  5. Configure automatic scanning: Edit the ClamAV configuration file with sudo nano /etc/clamav/clamd.conf. Adjust the ScanInterval value for automatic scans, save, and restart the ClamAV daemon with sudo systemctl restart clamav-daemon.

Enhance Ubuntu security with ClamAV by integrating it with email servers, scanning files in file-sharing services, protecting web content, and performing on-demand scans. Be aware of common errors like database update failure, false positives, performance impact, and conflicts with other antivirus software. Troubleshoot by ensuring connectivity, reporting false positives, optimizing settings, and uninstalling conflicting programs. Safeguard your system effectively with ClamAV.

Read the guide below to explore the step-by-step method to install ClamAV on Ubuntu, how to configure it, and common errors with possible solutions.

ClamAV is an exceptional antivirus solution to defend your Ubuntu system against malicious software. With its robust virus signature database and versatile scanning capabilities, ClamAV is a reliable shield against known malware. But its benefits extend beyond mere detection. By incorporating ClamAV into your security system, you fortify your system’s resilience, protect sensitive data, and ensure a safer computing experience. In this article, I will explore the step-by-step guide to install ClamAV on Ubuntu, how to configure it and enhance security using ClamAV, and common errors with possible solutions.

How to Install ClamAV on Ubuntu

To install ClamAV on Ubuntu, your system should meet the following requirements: an Ubuntu operating system, at least 1 GB of RAM, a dual-core processor, a minimum of 500 MB of free disk space, and a stable internet connection for regular updates. Here are the steps to install ClamAV on Ubuntu and configure it:

  1. Open the Terminal window.
opening terminal 8
  1. Execute the following commands to update your system:
<strong>sudo apt update</strong>
  1. This command updates the package lists on your system.
updating system package list 2
  1. Run the following command to install the necessary dependencies:
  1. Install ClamAV by running the following command:
<strong>sudo apt install clamav clamav-daemon -y</strong>
  1. This command installs ClamAV and its daemon on your system.
instaling clamav on ubuntu
  1. Once ClamAV is installed, you can confirm the version by running the following command:
<strong>clamscan --version</strong>
  1. You should see the following output:
verifying clamav version
  1. To update the ClamAV signature database, run the following command:
<strong>sudo freshclam</strong>
  1. This command downloads the latest signature database from the ClamAV website.
updating clamav database
  1. Once the signature database is updated, you can scan your system for viruses by running the following command:
<strong>clamscan /path/to/directory</strong>
  1. For example, to scan your home directory for viruses, you would run the following command:
<strong>clamscan ~</strong>
  1. This command scans the specified directory for viruses.
scanning home directory using clamav
  1. If any viruses are found, ClamAV will quarantine them. You can view the quarantined files by running the following command:
<strong>clamdscan --infected</strong>
  1. This command displays the list of quarantined files.
viewing any quarantine viruses
  1. To remove the quarantined files, run the following command:
<strong>clamdscan --remove</strong>
  1. This command permanently deletes the quarantined files from your system.
removing quarantine files
  1. You can also set ClamAV to scan your system automatically at regular intervals. To do this, open the ClamAV configuration file:
<strong>sudo nano /etc/clamav/clamd.conf</strong>
  1. This command opens the configuration file in the Nano editor.
opening clamav configuration file
  1. Find the line that says ScanInterval and change the value to the desired interval in seconds. For example, to scan every 15 minutes, you would set the value to 900.
  2. Save the file and exit the editor.
setting scan time in configuration file
  1. Restart the ClamAV daemon:
<strong>sudo systemctl restart clamav-daemon</strong>
  1. This command restarts the ClamAV daemon, enabling automatic system scans based on the configured interval.
restarting clamav
  1. ClamAV is now installed and configured on your Ubuntu system.

4 Enhancing Security with ClamAV: Additional Measures

In addition to its powerful antivirus capabilities, ClamAV offers various features to enhance your Ubuntu system’s security. By integrating ClamAV with other components, you can create a comprehensive defense against potential threats. Explore the following four measures to enhance your security posture:

  • ๐Ÿ“ง Integrating ClamAV with Email Servers: Integrating ClamAV with your email server adds an extra layer of protection against email-borne malware. By scanning incoming and outgoing emails, ClamAV helps identify and neutralize potential threats before they reach your inbox or spread to other recipients. Safeguard your communication channels and prevent the dissemination of malicious attachments or links.
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Scanning Files in File-Sharing Services: When sharing files through services like Samba or FTP, leveraging ClamAV’s scanning capabilities ensures that infected files do not propagate across your network. By scanning files before sharing, you prevent malware from spreading to other connected devices. Safely exchange files and maintain the integrity of your network and shared resources.
  • ๐ŸŒ Protecting Web Content with ClamAV: Integrating ClamAV with your web server allows you to scan uploaded files and web content, providing an additional security layer. Examining files for potential malware before users access them protects your website’s visitors from harmful content. Ensure a safe browsing experience and protect your online assets from malicious files or scripts.
  • โฑ๏ธ Utilizing ClamAV for On-Demand Scanning: In addition to regular system scans, you can perform on-demand scans using ClamAV. If you suspect a specific file or directory might be compromised, initiate a scan to detect any potential threats. This proactive approach helps identify and isolate malware, ensuring a secure system environment. Take control of your system’s security by scanning specific areas whenever needed.

4 Common Errors When Installing and Using ClamAV

While ClamAV is a powerful antivirus solution, users may face certain challenges during installation and usage. Understanding and resolving these common errors ensures a smooth experience with ClamAV on your Ubuntu system. Here are four common errors along with troubleshooting tips

  • ๐Ÿ” Database Update Failure: One common issue users face is the failure of ClamAV to update its virus database. This can occur due to network connectivity issues or misconfigured settings. To resolve this, ensure that your system is connected to the internet and check the configuration file to confirm the correct update server and settings are in place.
  • โŒ False Positive Detection: False positive detections can occur when ClamAV identifies a harmless file as malicious. This can be disruptive, causing inconvenience and unnecessary concern. To address this, you can submit the file to the ClamAV team for analysis, providing them with necessary details to improve their detection mechanisms and reduce false positives in future updates.
  • ๐Ÿš€ Performance Impact on System: In some cases, users may experience a noticeable impact on system performance during ClamAV scans. This can slow down other processes and hinder productivity. To mitigate this, consider scheduling scans during periods of lower system activity, optimizing scan settings for efficiency, or utilizing ClamAV’s resource-friendly options to minimize the impact on system performance.
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Conflict with Other Antivirus Software: Running ClamAV alongside other antivirus software can lead to conflicts and compatibility issues. These conflicts may cause scans to fail or result in unreliable detection. It is recommended to uninstall any conflicting antivirus software before installing ClamAV or disable real-time scanning features of other antivirus programs to ensure smooth integration and optimal performance.

To Sum Up

I have provided you with a step-by-step guide to install ClamAV on Ubuntu system. I have also discussed the importance of configuring ClamAV and explored additional security measures that you can implement to enhance your system’s defense. I also highlighted common errors that may arise during installation and usage, along with troubleshooting tips.

To deepen your knowledge of Ubuntu security, consider exploring the following articles: Security Measures for Ubuntu Users, Hardening Ubuntu for System Protection, and Ubuntu Firewall Configuration. Stay informed, keep ClamAV up to date, and explore additional resources to ensure the ongoing security of your Ubuntu system.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is ClamAV effective against zero-day threats?

ClamAV primarily relies on virus signature updates to detect known threats, which means its effectiveness against zero-day threats, or newly discovered vulnerabilities, may be limited. However, it’s important to note that ClamAV’s robust signature database does provide excellent protection against known malware. To enhance your system’s security against zero-day threats, it is recommended to complement ClamAV with other security measures such as a firewall, intrusion detection system, or behavior-based analysis tools. Additionally, practicing safe computing habits, such as keeping your software up to date and being cautious with email attachments and downloads, can further mitigate the risk of zero-day threats.

Can I use ClamAV to scan Windows files on my Ubuntu system?

Absolutely! ClamAV is designed to detect Windows malware, making it a valuable tool for scanning Windows files on your Ubuntu system. By utilizing ClamAV, you can protect your Ubuntu system from potentially infected files that may harm Windows machines. Whether you receive Windows files through email, download them from the internet, or share them via file-sharing services, ClamAV can scan and identify any malicious content, ensuring the safety of your Ubuntu system and preventing the spread of malware to Windows devices.

What should I do if ClamAV detects a false positive?

If ClamAV flags a harmless file as a false positive, you have the option to report it to the ClamAV team for analysis. Reporting false positives helps the ClamAV team improve their detection algorithms and refine their virus database. Most likely, they will investigate the reported file, analyze its behavior, and release updates to rectify the false positive detection. Reporting false positives contributes to the continuous enhancement of ClamAV’s accuracy and ensures that legitimate files are not mistakenly identified as threats, providing a more reliable antivirus experience.

To integrate ClamAV with popular email servers, you should consult the documentation specific to your email server software. Most email server software, such as Postfix, Exim, or Sendmail, provide guidelines and configurations for enabling ClamAV for email scanning. These guidelines typically involve installing ClamAV on the server, configuring the email server software to use ClamAV as the antivirus engine, and defining the scanning policies and actions. By integrating ClamAV with your email server, you ensure that incoming and outgoing emails undergo thorough virus scanning, offering better protection against email-borne threats like malware attachments or malicious links.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, heโ€™s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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