DebianDebian Based

How To Install ClamAV on Debian 12

Install ClamAV on Debian 12

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install ClamAV on Debian 12. ClamAV is an open-source antivirus engine widely used for scanning files and directories for various types of malicious threats, including viruses, trojans, and malware.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the ClamAV antivirus on a Debian 12 (Bookworm).


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Debian 12 (Bookworm).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • You will need an active internet connection to download the ClamAV package.
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install ClamAV on Debian 12 Bookworm

Step 1. The installation process involves updating the system and then installing ClamAV and its daemon. To update the system, users can execute the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Step 2. Installing ClamAV on Debian 12.

Install ClamAV using the APT package manager. This ensures a seamless process, integrating ClamAV into your Debian 12 system effortlessly:

sudo apt install clamav clamav-daemon

Verify the successful installation by running:

clamscan --version

Step 3. Configuring ClamAV.

To configure ClamAV on Debian, it is essential to understand the steps involved in setting up and maintaining the antivirus program. The configuration process includes changing the freshclam configuration for up-to-date virus signatures, scanning for viruses, and ensuring regular updates for security patches and bug fixes.

  • Changing Freshclam Configuration

ClamAV requires up-to-date virus signatures to effectively detect and remove malware. The freshclam configuration needs to be modified to ensure that the virus signatures are current. This can be achieved by changing the DatabaseMirror setting to a mirror that corresponds to the user’s country code. The following command demonstrates how to modify the freshclam configuration:


The ‘local‘ in the DatabaseMirror setting should be changed to the user’s country code to ensure that ClamAV receives updates from a local mirror, enhancing the efficiency of virus signature updates.

  • Scanning for Viruses

ClamAV is capable of scanning individual files or entire directories for viruses. Users can initiate a scan using the “clamscan” command. For example, to scan a file, the following command can be used:

clamscan file

To scan an entire directory, the command would be:

clamscan --recursive=yes --infected /home

If users want ClamAV to remove infected files, they can add the “--remove” option to the scan command. Additionally, to override the default file size limitations for scanning, users can append the option”--max-filesize=2000M” And “--max-scansize=2000M” to the scan command, where the size can be adjusted as necessary.

  • Updating ClamAV

Regular updates are crucial for maintaining the effectiveness of ClamAV. The development team behind ClamAV releases updates that fix bugs and address security vulnerabilities. Users need to ensure that their ClamAV installation is up to date with these updates to keep their systems secure.

  • GUI Alternative

For users who prefer a graphical user interface (GUI) for scanning, an additional package called “clamtk” can be installed. This GUI provides an alternative to the command-line scanning process, offering a more user-friendly experience for those who are less comfortable with the terminal.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed ClamAV. Thanks for using this tutorial to install the latest version of the ClamAV antivirus on Debian 12 Bookworm. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official ClamAV website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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