Now running Mint, do I need anti-virus software?

I’ve already made the switch to running Linux Mint (thanks to Jay’s step-by-step videos.) As a former Windows user, I’m used to always running anti-virus software, but I see mixed opinions as to whether it’s needed for Linux. I especially don’t want to pay for unneeded protection, since I am just running one laptop at home. Any tips are appreciated.

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This is a subject of great debate. I won’t give my personal opinion, but, will point out a few things.

Due to the user permission structure in Linux / BSD / UX distributions, it’s very difficult to get a virus or malware to permeate through to the entire file system. This is a reason why many Linux distro’s create a “normal” user along with the root user during installation. This is also why many distos recommend that you “do not” use the root user for your daily driver.

While it’s not impossible for a virus, malware, or root-kits to infect the entire system, it would have to have permission to do things to files owned by root. If you install something to your non-root user account that is infected somehow, it’s contained within your local user namespace. That namespace cannot modify root files unless you give it specific permission to do so.

Having said all that, there are many commercial AV’s you can deploy. I can tell you, if my work deploys a Linux VM / server, they put Kaspersky on it. In fact, it goes on every machine Linux, Windows, or other.

There’s also a truckload of Free AV’s to choose from, ClamAV being a popular one that you’ll see on many Web Hosting Cpanel implementations. Other’s I’ve seen rather frequently: ClamTK, ChrootKit, RootKitHunter, Sophos, and others.

So there ya have it. It’s not really answering the question of “do you need AV” software. Maybe a better question is, “Do You Want AV software”. If the answer to that is Yes, there are plenty to choose from, both commercial and free, that are very good.


Agreed. With linux, if you stick to the distro’s packaging system and maintain good security hygiene otherwise, you should be safe. The distro’s package maintainers go to great lengths to test and provide for security in their repositories. Every case I’ve heard of where malicious software gets into a repo, it has been found and removed very quickly.

Personally, I don’t use AV on Linux and I’ve never had an issue. I am careful about what I click on and where I download from, though, as that is a more likely threat vector than getting something bad from the Linux Mint repo.

I could talk for hours on this subject. Post any questions here and we will try to answer as best we can.


You might give this video from Rob Braxman a look:


Ha! Nice one @Buffy !!

I had a very similar conversation with my IT “Guru” department about Kaspersky :slight_smile: I am in the AI department, and we have our own shop that takes care of our OS / Hardware needs, e.g. we don’t have Kaspersky on our work stations / laptops / cluster servers, nor anything else for that matter - FWIW, I still think ClamAV is pretty good, but, I may just be brainwashed.

The MIT (man in the middle) comments he made were interesting and I’ll have to research that a bit more, as I never really thought about the actual mechanics and possible exploits. I run my own VPN server, so, I’m definitely going to think on that aspect a good bit more also.

That guy looks very familiar. For some reason, Linux Phones come to mind. I don’t know if he is involved with that, but, he sure reminds me of somebody I saw in another video recently.

Thanks for the share @Buffy, very informative.

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Yeah, he talked about Linux phones and De-Googled ones, too. He does a lot of security and privacy videos.

In my opinion you do not need one. In Windows you do because windows is so insecure. It’s extremely easy to hack into unlike Linux which has so many permissions that its like trying to get into a fortress. I’m not saying it can’t happen bit its unlikely. On top of that 94% of all viruses are written for windows. 5% for Mac and 1% for Linux. I’ve been using different distros over the last 3 years and I’ve never once had a virus. And windows and Linux files are not backwards compatible, so a windows virus will have no effect on a Linux computer. I honestly forget that viruses are a thing in computers until I see a question like this. However with linux, every program you would need are in the repositories already or you can build the package from source, either way you arent downloading any files from any sketchy website, 90% of all the programs you need can be downloaded with the software center / Terminal.

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I agree, however, I think that harmful commands is something to be aware of when asking for help in forums and other help sources.
You should always research what a command does, or see what it does from the man pages. For example, if somebody tells you to do sudo rm -rf / --no-preserve-root (a well-known command which deletes your root directory, equivalent of deleting system 32 in Windows), you can use man rm to see what the rm command does.

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Thanks everyone. Very interesting video, @Buffy, this is stuff I’ve never considered before. It sounds like I don’t need to worry about this at this time, anyway. Definitely going to delve into more Rob Braxman content. Also good advice, @noobishply. I have a long way to go in understanding how to use the command line. Right now I’m just enjoying the Mint experience feeling like an older, less annoying version of Windows, and that alone is worth the change.


Not if you install software from the standard Mint repositories. I personally use Ubuntu 20.04 and i don’t have antivirus.