Avast is a popular virus protection software for Windows. But what about an alternative operating system such as Ubuntu? The good news is, you can get Avast for Linux.
Well, sort of. (We will get into that soon.) The question is, do you really need it, and if so, what should you pay for it (if at all)?
We will go over the basics of Avast for Linux in this article, so you can make an informed decision about this virus software solution.
What is Avast Virus Software?
Avast is a popular brand of virus software that is primarily used on Windows machines to scan for problematic programs that interfere with computer operations.
Avast has a free home edition for individual users, and this popular software is a favorite among desktop Windows workers who want cheap virus protection.
Avast generally works quite well. It’s main problem (at least with the free edition) is the excessive number of pop-ups that constantly activate in Windows trying to egg you on to buy the commercial version.
It is annoying, and more than one Avast installation has been removed entirely because of this constant nagging advertising.
Commercial editions are also available for various fees, with more features. Versions of the software are made for PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone and iPad.
A current version of Avast’s free home edition for Linux is not available on the Avast website, since they stopped offering it.
However, you can find an older version online potentially at places like Softpedia and other software websites. You might also be able to get an older version through various Linux or Ubuntu repositories.
Avast does have an up-to-date security suite for Linux that is different from the home edition, which we will explain later.
Virus Software for Linux: Do You Really Need It?
Before we even get into Avast for Linux, let us talk about whether you really need it. Then, you will understand a bit more about the availability of Avast for Linux.
Perhaps you are coming from a Windows environment, and you have decided to take the plunge and install the Ubuntu Linux operating system on a spare desktop computer.
After many years of dealing with Windows issues, which might have included viruses, spyware, and adware, you may be justifiably concerned that your shiny new installation of Ubuntu is naked and vulnerable without virus protection software.
For this reason, you may be wondering if you can get Avast for Linux to keep your Ubuntu system free from pesky viruses and Trojans.
Here’s the thing: We’re not saying you shouldn’t install Avast for Linux.
However, the chances of your Linux operating system (whether Ubuntu or another version of Linux) getting a virus is very small, especially compared to Windows.
In fact, this snippet from a review of Avast! Linux Home Edition just about says it all:
“Avast! Linux Home Edition is a freeware graphical software tailored specifically for
GNU/Linux operating systems and designed from the ground up to act as a reliable and capable antivirus solution.
It promises to keep your computer from unwanted computer viruses, even though they pretty much don’t exist for desktop-oriented Linux distributions.”
Windows is More Vulnerable to Viruses Than Linux
The truth is, Windows is just a lot more vulnerable to viruses and spyware than Linux is. This is especially true of older versions of Windows, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
Windows 10 is a little better in terms of vulnerability than earlier releases of Windows, but it is still a lot more vulnerable than Linux or Ubuntu is overall.
In fact, you could run Linux for 10 years without any virus software, surfing the web and exchanging emails, and never once have a problem with a virus. Try to say that about Windows!
So, why is this?
For one thing, it has to do with how the Windows operating system works.
You do not need to understand the technical underpinnings here, but one thing that makes Windows much more vulnerable than Linux is its reliance on DLLs or Dynamic Linked Libraries.
These DLLs are important for programs to run, but they can be more easily hacked.
The Windows registry is also another vulnerable potential point of corruption for virus or trojan software.
The Linux kernel that runs the operating system (this also applies to Ubuntu) is self-contained and needs to be recompiled before it is updated. Therefore, it is harder to mess with.
Also, more people use Windows, so spammers, hackers, and virus programmers spend their efforts more on Windows because it is simply more profitable.
Linux users are also generally more tech savvy and tend to be developers.
There is no point in developing ransomware for Linux, because the average Linux user could quickly figure out how to disable such a terrible program.
Hackers may also just hate Microsoft and just want to mess with it by writing virus software. So, there you go. Windows is much more vulnerable than Linux.
All that said, Linux isn’t impervious to attacks by hackers, but these attacks tend to be more in the forum of an intrusion or break in than a virus or spyware.
Therefore, if you are using Linux, especially Ubuntu, for personal use, and you are keeping it up to date, you shouldn’t panic if your system isn’t protected by virus software.
Why You Might Want to Use Avast for Linux
Well, now you understand why Avast most likely got rid of its home edition for Linux. No-one really needed it, and it wasn’t profitable for them. You could maybe download and install an old version.
But you probably don’t need the old version of Avast for Linux to handle virus software problems. It is out of date anyway.
Instead, what Avast has for Linux and Ubuntu are security services that go beyond virus scanning.
You can use the Avast for Linux software as a security suite to monitor traffic going to your Linux server.
Avast for Linux Options
Here are the current offerings for Linux by Avast.
They are designed for Linux “servers” but could work just as well on a home Ubuntu machine – they just might be more power than you need.
You should note that these services for Linux by Avast are only guaranteed to work with certain Linux distributions or flavors.
As of this writing, these include:
Note that while Avast for Linux is designed to work with Ubuntu LTS 12.4, Ubuntu is built on Debian. Debian 7 is what Ubuntu version 11.10 was built on, with newer versions of Ubuntu being either Debian 7 (“Wheezy”) or higher.
You might have to test out Avast for Linux to see if it works on these other Ubuntu distributions.
Each of the Linux security services by Avast has a free trial offer that you can request.
(Prices are current as of this writing and may have changed by the time you read this.) Note that none of them focus on virus scanning:
1. Avast Core Security
This is the “core” security module available for Linux servers and includes a core scanner that can be activated from the command line or integrated for email protection.
The system boasts a connection with “CommunityIQ” to maintain information about the latest security threats. It also supports 64 bit Linux servers as well as 32 bit ones. A one-year license for one server is $159.99.
2. Avast File Server Security
The Avast File Server Security includes Avast Core Security. It is designed to help speed up clients connecting to the server by protecting server files.
It leverages multiple CPU cores (if you have them on your server) to support fast file transfers. Samba and NFS are both supported.
The cost for Avast File Server Security is $199.99 per year for one Linux or Ubuntu server.
3. Avast Network Security
The Avast Network Security service includes Avast Core Security but not Avast File Server Security.
Additionally, it scans and filters traffic on your server, including HTTP and email traffic. It is designed to have no impact on your Linux server’s performance. Popular secure protocols such as HTTPS, POP3S, and IMAPS are supported.
The cost for Avast Network Security is $199.99 per year for one Linux or Ubuntu server.
4. Avast Security Suite
Avast Security Suite for Linux includes all of the above server products: Avast Core Security, Avast File Server Security, and Avast Network Security.
A one-year license for one Linux server is $239.99.
Is Avast for Linux Worth It?
As you can see, you can’t really use Avast for Linux in the same way you use it on Windows.
Whether or not you want to try Avast’s premium services for Linux servers depends on what your needs are. Many free Linux firewalls are available, but perhaps Avast has something more to offer you.
Featured Image CC 4.0 by Chanyiksun via WIkimedia Commons