Clam AntiVirus

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Clam AntiVirus
Developer(s) Tomasz Kojm[1]
Stable release 0.95.3 / October 28, 2009; 135793699 ago
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Antivirus software
License GNU General Public License

Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV) is a free, cross-platform antivirus software tool-kit capable of detecting many types of malicious software, including viruses. One of its main uses is on mail servers as a server-side email virus scanner. The application was developed for Unix and has third party versions available for AIX, BSD, HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS X, OpenVMS, OSF and Solaris.[2][3]

At one time Clam had a native version available for Windows, but while that project was ended,[4] Sourcefire indicated in late 2009 that they were working on a new Windows project. They stated "A new version of ClamAV for Win32 is under work. We plan to re-introduce support for Win32 platform in ClamAV 0.96."[5]

Both ClamAV and its updates are made available free of charge.

Sourcefire, a maker of intrusion detection products and the owner of Snort, announced on 17 August 2007 that it had acquired the trademarks and copyrights to ClamAV from five key developers.[6]



Clam AV 0.95.2, running a definition update, scanning a file and identifying a Trojan from the command-line.

ClamAV includes a number of utilities: a command line scanner, automatic database updater and a scalable multi-threaded daemon, running on an anti-virus engine from a shared library.[2]

The application also features a Milter interface for sendmail and on-demand scanning. It has support for Zip, RAR, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, OLE2, Cabinet, CHM, BinHex, SIS formats, most mail file formats, ELF executables and Portable Executable files compressed with UPX, FSG, Petite, NsPack, wwpack32, MEW, Upack and obfuscated with SUE, Y0da Cryptor. It also supports many document formats, including Microsoft Office, HTML, Rich Text Format and Portable Document Format.[2]

The ClamAV virus database is updated several times each day and as of 14 December 2009 contained 671,013 virus signatures.[2][7]


Linux & BSD

ClamAV is available for Linux and BSD-based operating systems.[2] In most cases it is available through the distribution's repositories for installation.

On Linux servers ClamAV can be run in daemon mode, servicing requests to scan files sent from other processes. These can include mail exchange programs, files on Samba shares, or packets of data passing through a proxy server (IPCop, for example, has an add-on called Copfilter which scans incoming packets for malicious data).

On Linux and BSD desktops ClamAV provides on-demand scanning of individual files, directories or the whole PC.[2]

Mac OS X

Apple Mac OS X Server has included ClamAV since version 10.4. It is used within the operating system's email service. A graphical user interface is available in the form of ClamXav.[8] Additionally, Fink and MacPorts have ported ClamAV to the platform too.

Another program which uses the ClamAV engine, on Mac OS X, is Counteragent. Working alongside the Eudora Internet Mail Server program, Counteragent scans emails for viruses using ClamAV and also optionally provides spam filtering through SpamAssassin.


ClamAV for OpenVMS is available for Alpha and Itanium platforms. The build process is simple and provides basic functionality, including: library, clamscan utility, clamd daemon and freshclam for update.[9]

Microsoft Windows

ClamWin running on Windows XP

ClamWin is a graphical user interface front end for ClamAV for Microsoft Windows built by ClamWin Pty Ltd. Features include on-demand (user started) scanning, automatic updates, scan scheduling, context menu integration to Explorer, and an add-in for Microsoft Outlook. To provide on-access scanning (scan when a file is read or written), the free software Winpooch must be used.

Plugins for Mozilla Firefox which use ClamWin to scan downloaded files are also available.[10][11]. Several other extensions allow the users to process downloaded files with any software and scan the files with ClamWin.[12][13][14][15]

ClamAV is also integrated into Moon Secure AV[16] and optionally into Spyware Terminator [17], which are able to use ClamAV for real-time protection and on-demand scans. Graugon_AntiVirus and CS Antivirus have been built around ClamAV wrapper to run on windows. CS Antivirus is also able to provide realtime protection[18]

Graphical interfaces

Since ClamAV does not include a graphical user interface but instead is run from the command line, a number of third-party developers have written GUIs for the application for various platforms and uses.

These include:

ClamTk 4.08 running on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
  • Linux
    • ClamTk using gtk2-perl. The project takes its name from the Tk libraries that were used when it was first started.[19][20]
    • KlamAV for KDE[21]
  • Mac OS X
    • ClamXav is a freeware port which includes a graphical user interfaces and has a "sentry" service which can watch for changes or new files in many cases. There is also an update and scanning scheduler through a cron job facilitated by the graphical interface. ClamXav can detect OS X-specific malware, as well as UNIX-specific and Windows-specific malware, but the malware definitions for OS X are not updated as often, with sometimes as much as a year passing between updates. However, the ClamXav application and the ClamAV engine, are updated regularly.[22]
    • Tiger Cache Cleaner is shareware software which installs and presents a graphic interface for using Clamav to scan for viruses, as well as providing other unrelated functions.
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Miscellaneous
    • Untangle is an open source network gateway that uses ClamAV in its Virus Blocker application.[23]


ClamAV is occasionally included in comparative tests against other antivirus products:

  • (2009)[24], note that ClamWin differs from ClamAV and often has lower detection rates.
    • ClamWin 0.95.2 ranked 43th (out of 55)
  • AV-Test (2008)[25]
    • On-demand: very poor
    • False positives: poor
    • On-access: poor
    • Response time: very good
    • Rootkits: very poor
  • Untangle (2007)
    • Ranked 2nd (out of 10) ahead of Symantec, F-Prot, Sophos, McAfee, GlobalHauri, Fortinet, and SonicWall.[26]


Barracuda Networks is being sued by Trend Micro for its distribution of ClamAV as part of a security package.[27] Trend Micro claims that Barracuda's utilization of ClamAV infringes on a software patent for filtering viruses on an Internet gateway. The free software community has responded in part by calling for a boycott against Trend Micro. The boycott has been endorsed by the Free Software Foundation.[28]

See also


  1. ClamAV (2007). "Team Members". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 ClamAV (2007). "About ClamAV". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  3. ClamAV (2007). "ClamAV Packages and Ports". Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ClamAV (2008). "ClamAV for Windows". Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  5. Sourcefire (2009). "Win32". Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  6. "Sourcefire acquires ClamAV". ClamAV. 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  7. ClamAV (December 2009). "Latest Stable Release". Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  8. (undated). "". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  9. Chupahin, Alexey (December 2008). "Clam AntiVirus OpenVMS Project News". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  10. "FireClam - Use ClamAV to scan Firefox downloads for viruses.". Firefox Addons. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  11. "ClamWin Antivirus Glue for Firefox". Firefox Addons. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  12. Download Scan
  13. Download Statusbar
  14. Safe Download
  15. ClamWin Pty Ltd (2009). "About ClamWin Free Antivirus". Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  16. Info About Moon Secure
  17. Key Features of Spyware Terminator
  18. [1]
  19. Mauroni, Dave (December 2008). "ClamTk Virus Scanner". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  20. Mauroni, Dave (October 2008). "ClamTk README". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  21. KlamAV F. (May 2006). "KlamAV - Main Page". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  22. (November 2008). "". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  23. Untangle (2008). "Virus Blocking - Two Great Apps to Protect Your Network". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  24. "2009-08, 10 August-05 September". Virus.GR. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  25. "Anti-virus comparison test of current anti-malware products, Q1/2008". AV-Test GmbH. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  26. "Untangle Fight Club". 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  27. "Trend Micro patent claim provokes FOSS community, leads to boycott". 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  28. "Boycott Trend Micro". Free Software Foundation. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 

Further reading

External links

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