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Best Security Applications for Linux

written by: nancydehra•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 7/7/2011

A common believed myth is that Windows is heavily vulnerable whereas Linux is not. In fact, both operating systems have their own strengths and vulnerabilities. You should carefully assess the threats posed to your Linux security systems and fill them with applications promoting robust security.

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    Some common threats include viruses, worms, malicious attacks and weak passwords. Importantly, security threats are dynamic. Therefore, security systems must constantly stay updated with the latest trends. Here are a few security applications that are a must for your Linux platform.

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    Though Linux is not infested with viruses, it is still important to load a strong anti-virus system on your systems. ClamAV is an excellent option for an anti-virus suite. This application is lightweight and doesn’t hog system resources. Installation is quick and easy. It has simple and user friendly interface. It is open source and designed for email scanning and gateways. Its utilities include flexible and scalable multi-threaded daemon and command line scanner. ClamAV also stays current with FreshClam, an automatic update feature.

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    If you are looking for a strong firewall utility that is easy to setup and can work for desktop users as well as large organizations, then SmoothWall fits the bill. It is an effective network firewall and is easy to setup, even for newbies. It serves as an effective “gateway drug” for self-built firewall appliances. After installation, you can tweak the firewall settings and configure QoS, web filter, anti-spam protection and also manage outgoing / incoming instant messaging. Even users with basic configurations like an old PC and a blank CD can easily create a ready-to-roll firewall for any type of users.

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    After taking care of installing an anti-virus suite and configuring a firewall, the next step is look at a robust application that will fight spam for you. SpamAssasin is a good option for detecting and filtering spam. In short, it is good at the job of eliminating spam. Even better, it allows you to customize the rules on what is spam and what is not. It is a suite of rapidly evolving tools that get better with each version. It primarily tests content of email messages for spam signatures and then takes appropriate action. It is a product that is sponsored by the Apache SpamAssasin project.

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    Interestingly, in one of the world languages, Kismet approximates to “destiny”. However, the utility of the application is totally different. It is an open source, command line based application meant to wirelessly detect, sniff and check for intrusions into systems. It is capable of automatically detecting network IP blocks by sniffing packets [TCP, UDP, ARP and DHCP]. In fact, it can de-cloak hidden or non-beaconing networks through passive sniffing. It can also log the traffic in Wireshark / TCPDump compatible formats.

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    Integrating these applications into your networks can mean enhanced security. This is not an exhaustive list and you can also add niche applications that help increase your security keeping your network protected at all times.