What is ClamAV?

Posted on by Neil Golden
Reading Time: 3 minutes

ClamAV is a free and open-source antivirus software and a cross-platform antivirus toolkit. Its primary purpose is to detect various kinds of malicious software, i.e. viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, and many other forms of possible threats to your system.

The ClamAV antivirus provides a command-line interface for scanning your filesystem (files and directories) and also includes numerous tools for email filtering, automatic signature updates, and other functions. A lot of applications use ClamAV, mostly Internet gateways and mail servers, as a safety measure for scanning incoming communications and stopping malware distribution.

ClamAV was created by Tomasz Kojm at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland in 2001. Afterward, ClamAV has been widely accepted by organizations and individual users, as it was made available for use, distribution, and modification under the GNU General Public License.

This article helps you understand what is ClamAV and why you should consider installing it on your system.

Is ClamAV Effective?

Considering the fact that ClamAV is an open-source software, it is clear that it possesses certain flaws. Most importantly, real-time protection is available only on Linux systems. Real-time protection is a crucial feature against zero-day attacks.

Besides real-time protection, there are no cyber security experts employed that would check if some of the updates added by the users are not, in fact, malicious and safe to be added to the ClamAV database. In fact, one of ClamAV’s key features is signed signature databases that protect users against such attacks, but having an expert employed would greatly enhance ClamAV database protection. ClamAV database is a virus database that is regularly updated with newly discovered threats and enables ClamAV to easily detect the threat.

On the contrary, the biggest upside of ClamAV is frequent updates. Sometimes, updates are released multiple times per day. If we take that information into account, there is a high possibility that ClamAV will actually detect a threat.

ClamAV provides a multi-threaded virtual scanner, a tool for automatic virus database updates, and a command-line scanner. If you take into account that ClamAV can detect millions of various threats, you understand that ClamAV provides effective antivirus and anti-malware protection.

ClamAV Architecture

ClamAV consists of three primary components.

1. ClamAV engine - the core component of the ClamAV antivirus that is responsible for performing malware detection.

2. ClamAV database - the component that is most frequently updated, and it contains the virus signatures used to detect malware.

3. ClamAV frontend - frontends are the applications that provide a user interface for ClamAV. Several frontends are available for ClamAV. Some of them are ClamTK and Clamdigger. 

Platforms ClamAV is Available On

ClamAV is best optimized for Linux OS, but it can be installed also on Windows OS and macOS.

ClamAV LTS (Long Term Support) is provided for the following platforms:

For all platforms, the minimum system requirements are:

  • RAM: 3 GB+.
  • CPU: 2.0 Ghz+.
  • Disk space: 5 GB+.

ClamAV Features

Even though ClamAV is free, it offers amazing protection. Some of the ClamAV key features are:

  • Files will be scanned quickly due to amazing optimization.
  • ClamAV is able to detect millions of viruses, worms, trojans, mobile malware, and even Microsoft Office macro viruses.
  • Real-time protection is only available for Linux systems. ClamScan or ClamD provides an option for blocking the file access until it has been scanned for malware.
  • Signature databases will ensure that only trusted databases will be used by ClamAV.
  • ClamAV is able to scan archives and compressed files.

Benefits of ClamAV

ClamAV's key benefit is that you are greatly enhancing the security of your system, completely free of cost. Furthermore, ClamAV is quite easy to install and use, especially for Windows and macOS users. Additionally, you can quickly scan the selected files and even schedule the scans using ClamScan. There is no better email gateway security and extra protection for various types of compressed files and archives.

Final Thoughts

It is impossible to imagine life today without Internet access. People use the Internet for work, communication, entertainment, shopping, etc. Nevertheless, despite all the advantages the Internet provides, there are serious security threats that can greatly harm every aspect of life, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Systems and important data are susceptible to sometimes irreparable damage caused by malware. Luckily, free and open-source malware detection software like ClamAV exists for everyone to install and use.

By installing ClamAV on your server or private computer, you are one step ahead in securing your system and your important files. ClamAV is one of the best free, open-source malware detection available today. Nowadays, having antivirus software on your system is of crucial importance. This anti-malware solution is optimized to work on all of the major operating systems, Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Knowing what is ClamAV, you will be able to secure your server quickly and efficiently. Liquid Web offers great options for VPS Hosting, Cloud Dedicated Servers, and Dedicated Servers for your website hosting needs. Contact the sales team and secure your website using ClamAV with your Liquid Web server today.

Avatar for Neil Golden

About the Author: Neil Golden

Neil contributed to solving the complex puzzle of evolution for a long time by obtaining his Ph.D. in Archaeology. These days, he digs the Linux servers in his role within the Liquid Web Monitoring Department instead of Paleolithic stone tools in the caves on archaeological sites. Instead of mammoths, he is now hunting for bugs on Linux servers. He has written numerous scientific and technical articles because writing is one of his biggest passions. In his free time, Neil composes music, reads novels, and travels the world.

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