Do a search for effective antivirus protection, and chances are you’ll run across someone discussing Malwarebytes. This is because it’s a very popular malware fighter, and it’s extremely effective. Millions of people have downloaded Malwarebytes, making it one of the most popular antimalware downloads around, comparable to AVG and Avast. It’s been around for nine years, and now boasts over 100 million downloads and 5 billion pieces of malware removed. Let’s go through what makes it so good, and some of its potential weaknesses.
In an extremely competitive market, Malwarebytes has established itself as a capable of going against the heavy hitters in the industry. Malwarebytes scans quickly, can fight malware that tries to block it from running, and is not filled with unnecessary extra features.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware does a fantastic job of untangling and destroying offending programs that can write themselves into registries and the actively mask themselves. If you have an infected machine, performing a once over with Malwarebytes will more than likely remove the malicious software. This can result in a noticeable improvement in your computer’s performance. Keep in mind though, no anti-malware software is going to be able to find and destroy 100 percent of malicious code 100 percent of the time on an extremely infected machine, so there is a change that Malwarebytes (and other software for that matter) won’t remove everything from an already infected device.
Malwarebytes plays well with others (other software that is)
One great feature of Malwarebytes is that it is designed to work in tandem with other antivirus programs. So if your device has been hijacked by several malicious programs, you can run Malwarebytes along with other programs you have installed when you attempt to remove all of the infections. Malwarebytes stands apart in this respect, as not all antivirus software systems work well with each other.
One thing to be aware of – major third party tests have not been conducted yet for the most current version of Malwarebytes. In addition, it does not have many tools specifically designed to protect you while you’re interacting online using chat features or social media. According to the developers, independent testing is lacking for Malwarebytes because it doesn’t exist to be a comprehensive anti-virus program. It’s focus is on the newest and most subtle online threads that other, more traditional security programs miss.
How does it work?
Malwarebytes is easy to install. If you want the free version, their Free Version Download button is displayed conspicuously on the company website. When you click on it you’ll be led directly to the download page. This is a refreshing change from many antivirus companies that redirect you to third party sites to obtain the free versions of their product.
Once the installer is downloaded, installation is simple. But note, in the last stage of the set up the option to “enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti Malware Premium” is checked by default. Uncheck it if you know you’ll want to stick with the free version only.
The paid version will let you schedule scans; the paid version does not. If you opt for the free version you’ll have to manually open the program and click the Scan button when you want to check for malware.
When it’s finished scanning it will list the suspicious items it detected, and ask if you’d like to quarantine them, ignore them, or exclude them from future scans. Most likely you’ll choose quarantine – this puts them in a safe area of the computer that Malwarebytes controls. If you decide later that something is not malicious, you can go to the History tab and select individual items. You can then permanently delete them from quarantine as well.
Not all features are available on the free edition, but most users will be just fine using it rather than the paid version. Malwarebytes Free doesn’t have a quick scan option, or automatic updates, but there are some tools that you can access on their website that are helpful.
Tools available on the free version
- Chameleon – This is a countermeasure against malware that tries to disable anti malware programs on the computers they have infected. Chameleon disguises Malwarebytes so that these malicious programs can’t locate it.
- Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit – This is a tool that monitors for attacks that enter through software flaws rather than malware.
- Start Up Lite – This tool helps speed up your computer on start up by disabling extra programs.
- File ASSASSIN – A tool that lets you delete files on your computer that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to delete, like locked files or files used by other programs
- RegASSASSIN – It can remove registry keys from your computer that are often used by advanced malware.
Remember, Malwarebytes should not be your only antivirus protection, but it’s great to have when disaster strikes, and to help you avoid disaster in the first place. It’s meant to complement your traditional antivirus software, not replace it.