Linux Commands

Why You Still Don’t Need Antivirus Software on Linux in 2020

There’s a division of opinion when it comes to the question; does Linux need antivirus? Well, the short answer is no.  Some say viruses for Linux are rare; others say Linux’s security system is secure and much safer than other operating Windows.

So, is Linux really secure?

While no single operating system is entirely secure, Linux is known to be much more reliable than Windows or any operating system. The reason behind this is not the security of Linux itself but the minority of viruses and malware that exist for the operating system.

Viruses and malware are incredibly rare in Linux. They do exist though the likelihood of getting a virus on your Linux OS is very low. Linux based operating systems also have additional security patches that are updated regularly to keep it safer.

The userbase of Linux is tiny when compared to Windows. While Operating systems like Windows and Mac house all kinds of users, Linux is inclined more towards advanced users. In the end, It all comes down to the caution taken by the user.

Can you get viruses on Linux?

Yes, before you assume anything, viruses and malware can affect any operating system.

No operating system is 100% safe, and it’s a fool errand to look for one. Like Windows and Mac OS, you can get viruses on Linux. However rare they are, they still exist.

On the official page of Ubuntu, a Linux based OS, it is said that Ubuntu is highly secure. A lot of people installed Ubuntu for the sole purpose of having a dependable OS when it comes to the security of their data and sensitive details.

One more thing to ponder upon is the fact that Linux servers can get hit by malware just like any other server. The desktop version of Linux is highly safe, but the servers can get infected if infected files hit them. This is a simple case that can be fixed very easily in Linux.

Is antivirus necessary on Linux?

Antivirus is not necessary on Linux based operating systems, but a few people still recommend to add an extra layer of protection.

Again on the official page of Ubuntu, they claim that you don’t need to use antivirus software on it because viruses are rare, and Linux is inherently more secure.

You can still add antivirus software for additional security and mental satisfaction. Popular antivirus software for Linux includes Sophos, Comodo, and ClamAV.

Linux vs Mac vs Windows Security?

One of the most popular arguments in the operating systems field is about which OS has a superior security system.

No doubt, Linux is said to be ‘the king’ when it comes to operating system security hence it’s rising userbase. In this section, we’ll talk about Linux’s security with respect to its competitors, Windows, and macOS.

Malware and security breaches are rare in Linux compared to Windows and macOS. Since macOS and Windows are the two most popular operating systems, they’re the regularly targeted ones when it comes to breaches and malware.

Windows Security

In recent times, Microsoft has amplified the security on Windows on top of ensuring regular security updates. With Windows Defender installed in Windows 10 by default, there’s no need to install external antivirus software as it already beats most of the free Windows antivirus apps out there on the market.

Still, if you are a Windows user, it’s highly likely that you’ll need a premium antivirus software. Because of this, the antivirus industry quite vast when it comes to antivirus software for Windows.

Mac Security

Apple has a reputation of offering the safest devices in their respective class. But the macOS isn’t as secure as it’s made out to be.

It can be just as easily infected as Windows through malware found online and viruses. Just like Windows, there are many antivirus software available for macOS like Sophos, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Intego, etc.


Linux still requires the user to take care of his work and sensitive details.

Still, when it comes to daily use, it is the only operating system out there right now that doesn’t require an antivirus software to function without any substantial risk.

About the author

Zeeman Memon

Hi there! I'm a Software Engineer who loves to write about tech. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn.