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Does Linux need third-party anti-virus?

Tasmania’s Department of Education has gone to market for anti-virus software for its 40,000 desktop PCs and 1,000 servers, specifying solutions must be able to secure not only Microsoft Windows, but also Mac OS X and Linux, in a move that has once again raised the question of to what degree the alternative platforms require dedicated security software.

In a request for tender document issued last week, the department said it required anti-virus/anti-malware protection software for its environment, for the “Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux-based operating systems”.

The department current runs Symantec’s Endpoint Protection suite (version 11) on its 40,000 desktop and laptop PCs and 1,000 servers, which are spread out across some 350 locations around the state. The numbers make the Department of Education one of the nation’s largest purchasers of end user IT equipment, alongside other major government departments and corporations such as the major banks.

“The primary requirement is to achieve complete coverage for enterprise-wide protection against all forms of malware,” the department wrote, noting it may use multiple suppliers for different functions if necessary. “The software system is intended to provide enterprise level protection across these platforms from the full range of anti-malware; viruses, worms, trojans, botnets, rootkits, spyware, adware, URL reputation filtering, etc.”

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