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Malwarebytes review: from installation to FAQ

Malwarebytes is a cybersecurity anti-malware program. Anti-malware is a vital software today providing protection against malicious files and infected sites. It detects and removes adware, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, spyware, and ransomware. Malwarebytes review is due because this security app has a unique set of  features that many antivirus packages lack. Also, it provides a bit different kind of protection, it is not recommended as a replacement for antivirus. The best option is to combine Malwarebytes and antivirus and thus, apply layered security.

Malwarebytes versions and hardware requirements

Malwarebytes is available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Current product version is 3.6.1.2711. There are Personal and Business packages. You can install Free edition for personal use on Windows. Premium edition provides not only remediation but also protection, for instance, against dangerous links. There are four Business packages:

  1. Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection & Response
  2. Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection
  3. Malwarebytes Endpoint Security
  4. Malwarebytes Incident Response

Hardware requirements for Windows:

  • CPU: 800 Mhz or faster, with SSE2 technology
  • RAM: 2 GGB (64-bit OS), 1 GB (32-bit OS, except 512 MB for Windows XP)
  • 250 MB of free hard disk space
  • 1024×768 or higher screen resolution
  • Active Internet connection for updates

You can choose a version appropriate for business: standalone or managed. The standalone solution is perfect for teams and small offices; it implies no central management. Malwarebytes Endpoint Security is a perfect choice for business and enterprise. It combines protection and remediation technologies for multi-layer defense. Each version has separate technical specifications, which can be configured by the Management Console.

Management Console hardware requirements:

  • CPU: 2 GHz (dual-core 2.6 GHZ or higher)
  • RAM: 2 GB (4 GB recommended)
  • Disk space: 10 GB (20 GB recommended)
  • Screen resolution: 1024×768 or higher
  • Active internet connection

Mac Remediation hardware requirements:

  • Any Apple Mac device with Mac OS X version 10.8 or later
  • Active Internet connection for updates

What does Malwarebytes do

  1. Detects and removes malware via anti-rootkit, anti-malware, and anti-spyware technology;
  2. Offers a choice of scan types/modes for user needs – Threat scan, Custom scan, Hyper scan;
  3. Proactively shields files, blocking any ransomware;
  4. Prevents connection with infected websites, downloads of malware, and hacking attempts;
  5. Blocks phishing sites, protects sensitive personal/business data, e.g. banking account credentials;
  6. Stops so-called crypto jacking (secretly installing software to mine cryptocurrencies).

Here is Malwarebytes in action:

Malwarebytes in action

Interface / User experience

This popular anti-malware product surely has an intuitive interface. Dashboard section displays all information of current importance: the date of last and next (scheduled) scan, real-time protection settings, available malware database updates. Scan section serves to review the results of last scan and scheduling check-ups. We’ll describe scan options below. In this tab, you can also export scanning summary. Quarantine section shows all the files and folders placed by Malwarebytes in an isolated folder where they can cause no harm.

Malwarebytes review

Reports section stores data about recent activities. Settings section contains several tabs. In the Application tab, you can select update options, display language, manage notifications, enable Proxy Server, collect event log data, etc. You can also schedule a scan in the appropriate tab of the Settings section. You can choose scan priority – at high priority scanning will take minimum time but may affect other tasks. With lower scan priority it will take longer to scan everything.

Protection tab contains all necessary settings for real-time protection, scans, and potential threat protection (including unwanted programs and modifications), quarantine and startup options. Also, you can add or remove applications for shielding in a Manage Protected Applications option.

In the Exclusions tab of Settings, you can exclude items from detection: files, folders, websites, apps or exploits (previously detected attacks). Later on, you can manage or remove exclusions in the same tab. In Settings users can view information about the product and your account details too. Notifications about blocked attacks sometimes appear on the screen and  scanning speed is pleasant – it really does not slow down a device.

Applications protection in Malwarebytes

Trial, pricing

For first 14 days Malwarebytes free version offers real-time protection and a full set of Premium services. After that period, if a user does not buy a license, it downgrades to a limited version that can only clear your computer after an attack.

Paid plans pricing depend on the number of devices and subscription terms. Personal edition costs $39.99 for 12 months/1 device, $69.98 for 24 months/ 1 device. For 2 devices: 1 year subscription costs $49.99 and 2 year subscription is $87.48. For 10 devices: 1 year subscription is $129.99, 2 year subscription costs $227.48.

Business package2 devices5 devices10 devices
1 year subscription$84$169$425
2 year subscription$144$288$720
3 year subscription$190$382$955

For Enterprise edition one has to contact a sales manager and request a quote.

Types of scans

Malwarebytes offers three types of scanning: Threat Scan, Custom Scan, Hyper Scan. Threat Scan is launched daily by default. It takes the longest but checks a computer most thoroughly. This scanning method detects a majority of threats. It doesn’t scan literally every file on a PC but checks the locations where typically malware attacks happen:

  • startup objects: executable files initiated at computer startup;
  • memory objects: memory allocated by drivers, operating system processes, other applications;
  • registry objects: changes made to Windows registry;
  • file system objects: files on local drives.

With Custom Scan a user can choose what and where you want Malwarebytes for Windows to scan. To customize a scan, click the Custom Scan option, then click Configure Scan. With this option, you can choose areas to scan. In addition to memory objects, startup and registry objects, users can scan the following items:

  1. Archive files (ZIP, 7Z, RAR, CAB, and MSI) ignored during the usual scan. They can be tested up to two levels deep, except for the password-protected encrypted files.
  2. Rootkits which are invisible to the operating system though they are stored on the local disc and may influence system behavior.
  3. Potentially unwanted programs (PUP/PUA), modifications.

Custom scan also allows to choose a particular folder or a file, as well as exclude items from scanning.

Hyper Scan mode is for instant detection of active threats and their removal. It in Malwarebytes app searches for threats in memory and startup objects. It is fast but not that thorough. Only Premium users have access to this service. If Hyper Scan catches any immediate threats, it is a good idea to run additional Threat Scan.

MalwareBytes scheduler

Scan schedule

If you are a Premium edition user, you can schedule a scan, edit its details or remove it. To add the schedule, go to Scan schedule tab and press Add. Then, choose the scan type, date and time, frequency and recurrence. You can choose to quarantine all threats automatically or to receive a notification each time a new threat is detected, and decide on the action Malwarebytes should take.

We should mention that sometimes a legitimate file can be categorized as malicious and in this case automated quarantine might have unexpected implications. Select whether a computer will immediately restart after removing a threat or manually. Also, there’s an option to scan for rootkits and within archives, which makes the process longer but more comprehensive.

User tips

Malwarebytes is an extremely convenient malware removal software. You just install it and let it do its job. It has one complete scan scheduled daily by default and it protects from malicious websites and all sorts of attacks. Malwarebytes allows to download a free 14-day trial. But note, that after it expires, it is still very useful. It downgrades to a free version which provides remediation (or sanitation) of threats but no real-time protection. It still works great.

For users who are not too tech savvy, we’d advise not to try custom scan option, as well as automatic restart option – not to lose your work in other programs. Although, a restart after a scan is recommended to complete the malware removal process.

Though, we recommend upgrading to Premium. It is worth it, as real-time protection really makes a difference. Two great features are also available for Premium users: anti-ransomware and anti-exploit. Besides, scan scheduling has more options and is more flexible. A great way to use Malwarebytes is to have it in combination with an antivirus. Malwarebytes labs regularly test most popular antiviruses for compatibility and update the list of software which runs well alongside, for private and business use. For example, Avast and Kaspersky will do just fine.

Activation. To activate Malwarebytes you should be logged into Windows as administrator. Select a Malwarebytes version you want to buy, order, and a license key will be delivered in  order confirmation email. Download and install the program if you have not done it yet. Run it and find “Activate License” in the upper right part of the window. Enter a license key (if you got it with ID, check the appropriate box and enter the ID number). Click Activate License.

MalwareBytes trial

Quarantine. During the scans, files or programs categorized as threats are removed from the location where they were found and placed in quarantine. They are modified to eliminate the possibility of causing damage to computer. You can view the list of these files in the Quarantine tab, where you also can choose to delete or restore items. Also, be aware that sometimes Malwarebytes categorizes files as malicious incorrectly, so be attentive to what you delete from quarantine.

Application Logs. In previous Malwarebytes version 2, there is access to logs in a History tab, to read, copy and export them. In recent version, find them in the Reports section. A list of real-time protection detections is also displayed there, click twice on the log or select it and click “View report”. You also can export that information.

Malwarebytes review: performance test

We ran the recommended –  the most thorough – Threat Scan which lasted 27 minutes. While it was running, we continued working on PC: editing pictures in Photoshop and searching for some information on the Internet. We didn’t notice any slow downs in performance. In result, Malwarebytes found 38 threats among 30,3827 scanned objects, most of them – PUPs.

We studied the list of items – there were no misplaced files and we even found remains of a malware which we have been trying to eliminate for months before and were unable to. Everything worked very fine. Also, earlier, Google was constantly warning about suspicious traffic from the computer – now we do not encounter this problem anymore.

anti-malware tools

AdwCleaner tool

Adware can download or display advertisements on the infected device, collect marketing behavior data, and even affect user’s search requests. AdwCleaner by Malwarebytes is a separate app to download and it targets adware, spyware and potentially unwanted programs.

Also, it removes unnecessary browser toolbars which you can’t remember installing because it was bundled with other software and imposed without permission. Impact on memory and processor power is insignificant. AdwCleaner scans everything in a couple of minutes and delivers results which a user can check in logs and observe in improved computer performance.

Adware cleaner

Verdict, pros/cons

Malwarebytes is a must today. It is certainly dominant over most of other anti-malware software that ain’t got as many features and often cause issues, e.g. slowing a computer, long-time scanning, incompatibility with antiviruses, etc. The paid version is not cheap but it is worth if one wishes to effectively protect a device and not worry about attacks, vulnerabilities exploits, ransoms. Malwarebytes is generally easy to use. Advanced features may take longer to understand, and for unsophisticated users, it might be difficult to deal with files improperly marked as malicious. But there’s a support service to help anytime.

Pros: A free version is available Compatible with most antiviruses Simple and friendly interface Noticeable and fast results Exceptionally quick scans Real-time protection

Cons: In the free version, one has to check for updates manually Pop-up prompting to update a free version to a paid one is annoying Ransomware Protection is not available for Windows XP or Vista.

FAQ

Q: What is MalwareBytes?
A: MalwareBytes is a cybersecurity program aimed at PC protection against threats.

Q: How to disable / turn off MalwareBytes?
A: Right-click the program icon, choose the desired protection shield and turn it off. Or quit MalwareBytes at all.

Q: What does MalwareBytes do?
A: It detects and blocks malware in real-time mode, protects a web browser and other programs from ransomware, infected websites.

Q: MalwareBytes Free vs Premium
A: Free version provides scan and clean features only. For real-time protection and other useful features users should purchase Premium.

Q: How to stop MalwareBytes popups?
A: The only mode without notifications and ads is Game mode. Overall, there’s no way to disable pop-ups and internal ads.

Q: Does MalwareBytes provide cloud scan?
A: It does not.

Q: Does MalwareBytes protect passwords?
A: It does not have such feature.

Q: Does MalwareBytes have money-back guarantee?
A: After the purchase, during the 60 days users may apply for a refund, if not satisfied.

Q: Does MalwareBytes have a scheduler?
A: Yes, go to Scan tab -> Scan Schedule and specify a time period.