75 Open Source Apps To Replace Popular Security Software

Protect your network with free, open source anti-malware, firewall, backup, IDS/IPS, data loss prevention and other security tools.


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Hackers seem to be successfully attacking almost everyone these days. Already this year, the news has included high-profile cyberattacks targeting Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Chase, Evernote, The Federal Reserve, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times and other companies.

While no security software can provide complete protection from every cyberattack, the open source community has developed a variety of tools that home users, small businesses and enterprises can use to improve their security profile. Many of these open source projects are of a very high quality—in fact, many have won awards and some have been incorporated into commercial applications.

Below and on the following pages, we've collected some of the best of these open source security applications and listed them with similar commercial software to provide a general idea of their capabilities. We update this list about once a year. For 2013, we extended it significantly, as well as updating information on tools we've already covered and eliminating some of the tools that are no longer regularly patched.

As always, if you know of additional open source security tools that you think should be on our list, please note them in the comments section below.


1. ClamAV

Replaces VirusScan Enterprise for Linux

Known as "the de facto standard for mail gateway scanning," ClamAV is one of the most popular open source security applications available. The core open source product has been packaged into numerous other products, including Immunet a cloud-based version for Windows PCs. Note that the standard version of ClamAV offers on-demand scanning only and does not scan your system or incoming content in real-time. Operating System: Linux, but front-ends and additional versions are available for other OSes.

2. ClamTk

Replaces VirusScan Enterprise for Linux

One of the many front-ends for ClamAV, ClamTk offers an easy-to-use graphic interface. It's won several awards and is available in numerous languages. Operating System: Linux.

3. ClamWin Free Antivirus

Replaces Kaspersky Anti-Virus, McAfee AntiVirus Plus, Norton Anti-Virus

More than 600,000 Windows users run this anti-virus software on their systems. It offers an easy installer, and it integrates with Windows Explorer and Outlook. As you might guess from the name, it is also based on ClamAV. Operating System: Windows.


4. Amanda

Replaces Simpana Backup and Recovery , NetVault, HP StorageWorks EBS

It's website proclaims that Amanda is "the most popular open source backup and recovery software in the world." It can back up multiple networked systems to a single tape- or disk-based storage system, and it's very easy to set up. It comes in a free community version, a paid enterprise version or as a paid appliance. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

5. Areca Backup

Replaces NovaBackup

If you only need to back up a single system, Areca offers an easy-to-use interface that balances simplicity with flexibility. Noteworthy features include compression, AES128 and AES256 encryption, filters and support for incremental, differential, delta and full backups. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

6. Bacula

Replaces Simpana Backup and Recovery , NetVault, HP StorageWorks EBS

This popular network backup solution was designed for enterprise users. Those who need commercial support and services can get it through Bacula Systems. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

7. Clonezilla

Replaces Norton Ghost

This disk imaging and cloning tool comes in two separate editions. Clonezilla Live does backup and bare metal recovery for a single system. Clonezilla SE allows administrators to clone or multi-cast disk images for forty systems or more at the same time. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

8. FOG

Replaces Norton Ghost

Another cloning tool, FOG boasts easy use, centralized administration, powerful capabilities and scalability that can support networks with 2 to 20,000 systems. In addition to disk imaging, it also offers virus scanning, memory testing, disk wiping, testdisk, and file recovery features. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

9. Partimage

Replaces Norton Ghost, NovaBackup, McAfee Online Backup, Carbonite.com

This backup solution creates an image of a partition or your entire system, copying only the used portions to save time and space. It can be used for backup or to copy an image onto many systems. Operating System: Linux.

10. Redo

Replaces Norton Ghost, NovaBackup, McAfee Online Backup, Carbonite.com

Downloaded more than 750,000 times, Redo claims to be "easiest, most complete disaster recovery solution available." It runs from a live CD, so no installation is necessary. It's so fast and easy to use that even if you erase your entire hard drive, it can get you back up and running in just ten minutes. Operating System: Linux.


11. Chromium

Replaces Microsoft Internet Explorer

The open source version of Google's Chrome browser boasts a number of built-in security features, like automatic updates, sandboxing, SafeBrowsing, blocking out-of-date plug-ins and more. The Chromium team includes well-known security experts, and they respond to vulnerability notifications very quickly–sometimes putting out patches within 24 hours. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

12. Firefox

Replaces Microsoft Internet Explorer

Developed by the Mozilla Foundation, Firefox also claims to offer a more secure browsing experience. Security features include instant website ID, private browsing, do-not-track capabilities, anti-virus and anti-phishing features, automatic updates and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

13. Tor Browser

Replaces Microsoft Internet Explorer

The Tor browser aims to keep you safe and anonymous while browsing the Internet. It transmits communications across multiple relays to prevent outsiders (like government entities) from spying on you or tracking your activities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Browser Add-Ons

14. Web of Trust (WOT)

Replaces McAfee SiteAdvisor Plus

According to the counter on its home page, WOT has been downloaded more than 68 million times. It displays a green, yellow or red "traffic light" for websites to let you know whether the site has a trusted reputation or not. It works with all major browsers, including Firefox, IE, Chrome, Safari and Opera. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

15. PasswordMaker

Replaces Kaspersky Password Manager, Roboform

Don't keep using the same password over and over! PasswordMaker creates unique passwords for each service you use. All you have to remember is one master password and this add-on does the rest for you. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Data Destruction

16. BleachBit 

Replaces Easy System Cleaner

BleachBit combines multiple security and privacy functions into a single utility. It cleans out "junk," like cookies and temporary files, and it protects your privacy by erasing your history and deleting log files. It also includes a file "shredder" to help you completely eliminate all traces of unwanted files. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

17. Eraser

Replaces BCWipe Enterprise

Like other data "shredding" tools, Eraser completely eliminates all traces of a file from your drive by overwriting it several times with random data. The Eraser website suggests you might like to use it to make sure no one can recover your "passwords, personal information, classified documents from work, financial records, [or] self-written poems." Operating System: Windows.

18. Wipe

Replaces BCWipe Enterprise

If you're on Linux, you won't be able to use Eraser, but you will be able to run Wipe, which offers much the same functionality. The site also offers a little more technical detail about how secure deletion works. Operating System: Linux.

19.Darik's Boot and Nuke

Replaces Kill Disk, BCWipe Total WipeOut

If you need to delete an entire drive, DBAN does the job. It's a great tool to use if you plan to donate or dispose of an old system and don't want people to be able to access your records from the hard drive. Operating System: OS Independent.

Data Loss Prevention

20. OpenDLP

Replaces RSA Data Loss Prevention Suite, CheckPoint DLP Software Blade, Symantec Data Loss Prevention Product Family

This centrally managed DLP solution can scan thousands of Windows or Unix systems at once to discover any sensitive data at rest. It then returns results securely to an easy-to-use Web GUI, so that compliance officers and security personnel can determine what types of information might be residing on their systems. Operating System: Windows.

21. MyDLP

Replaces RSA Data Loss Prevention Suite, CheckPoint DLP Software Blade, Symantec Data Loss Prevention Product Family

A much more robust DLP solution, MyDLP can actually prevent sensitive data from leaving your system as well as identifying its location. In addition to the free community edition, it's also available in a paid enterprise edition that comes with support. Operating System: Windows, Linux, VMware.

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Tags: open source, firewall, backup, Security Essentials, anti-malware software

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