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Best 21 Antimalware software - September 2019

List of top 21 Antimalware software - September 2019

IObit Malware Fighter
Free
$ 25.99Pro

Available on

Key Features

  • Anti-ransomware
  • Ad block
  • USB guard

Malware Fighter is exactly what one expects from the name - it safeguards your PC, laptop, mobile device from modern-day web threats. With extended scan settings and options, including selecting file types and priority to check, setting default action for certain scenarios, etc., scanning isn’t ideal, as only deep scans prove to be of use, but they take a lot of time. During our own testing, the program missed about 55% malware samples in real-time mode. Quarantine is located in settings tab, whereas other similar apps have it in the main window for quick access, and it proposes 2 actions: delete or restore.

The strong sides of Malware Fighter by IObit are: a) logs - as a separate tab, that even has sorting option; b) quiet mode - with ability of auto launch on startup or used-defined programs; c) ignore list - for exclusions while scanning; d) database renewal - one-click action lasting few moments and providing enough details; e) plugin and toolbar cleaner - or “IObit Uninstaller” browser plugin for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox; f) surfing protection / ads removal - also a plugin to install, if a user wishes to block web ads and/or specific sites in parental control mode. For technical support, there’s a menu tab that leads to vendor webpage, to fill in the form describing the issue, although more options, e.g. live chat or email, would be a good addition.

Pros:

  • Free version download available
  • All the basics of anti-malware protection included
  • Additional browser and homepage tools and plugins

Cons:

  • Questionable real-time detection
  • Full scanning is quite lengthy
  • Static size interface that covers most of the screen
Anonymous
"I can honestly say that it is one of IObits best software”
Emsisoft Anti-Malware
Free
$ 19.99Home
$ 26.66Home & Mobile

Available on

Key Features

  • 2-mode scanning
  • Malware removal
  • Anti-ransomware

Behavior analysis, active web protection, custom and quick scan, malware removal and other tools one does anticipate in an anti-malware software, Emsisoft brings to the table. While at task, it does neither impact nor interfere with PC’s performance, and overall is very easy to use. The whole scanning process is transparent, displaying progress in percentage, file names and number of files already checked, setting potential threats aside. Users can specify which files to prioritize, set date and time of periodical inspection.

The differentiating factor for Emsisoft is double-effort to detect malware - via the main Emsisoft scanner paired with Bitdefender, which enhances safety against ransomware, banking trojans, phishing, keyboard spy loggers, bots, malicious websites, viruses, rootkits, PUPs, etc. Threat removal is unbeatable once a user chooses between deletion or ignoring, viewing details afterwards in notepad logs - but only for on-demand local scans, not web actions. For questions about the program, you can contact technical support team by sending a message right within the app, or even by sending a suspicious file to the vendor virus laboratory via website. 30-day free trial is nice to explore.

Pros:

  • 90% efficiency in destroying malware
  • Monthly Emsisoft updates
  • Compatible with all Windows versions

Cons:

  • Less useful against infections
  • Not actually free (only trial)
  • No log auto cleaning options
Alex4650
"Providing effective malware protection”
Emsisoft Emergency Kit
Free

Available on

Key Features

  • Auto updates
  • Command-line support
  • Whitelist

One of two anti-malware services from Emsisoft vendor, which is a stripped-down version of Emsisoft Anti-Malware. As name suggests, it will be especially useful to those who got a PC infected and need urgent remediation. Thus, it is geared towards on-demand scanning and detection rather than active protection, with full/quick/custom scans at hand, typical for today’s security suites. Threats end up in the quarantine to neutralize potential malicious files. Whitelist comes handy when you want to skip certain files and/or folders while scanning. Designed compactly and neatly, with nothing excessive or buggy. Updates are quick and accessible in one click. Question mark icon “?” sends you off to support section, to send emails, read forum and FAQ, to send suspicious files for check-up, but no direct live chat.

Pros:

  • Different scan types
  • Alternative version in command line mode (for advanced users)
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Quick scan type ineffective
  • No real-time protection
  • No scan scheduler
MIKE98
"Awesome software to use it with your antivirus or alone, espesially on PCs on Windows 8”
RogueKiller Anti-malware
Free
$ 13.00Personal
$ 32.00Technician

Available on

Key Features

  • Detection & removal
  • Scheduler
  • Exclusion list

Small but industrious app to seek and destroy malicious software and ill-minded attacks. It you’re wondering what is anti-malware and how does it work, RogueKiller is a nice example of a product that has everything for digital protection, minus active protection in real-time. Thus, it is good to scan a PC or a laptop for viruses, bots, scripts, spying apps, etc. and neutralize them before the damage is done. In quarantine users can view infections up and close, and then decide to delete or allow. There’s also ability to schedule periodic checks, down to 30 minutes intervals, as well as exclude files that are safe and trusted and save time and resources that way. In terms of usability, one can select 1 of 3 themes for interface (no restart required), everything is compact and simple, and there’s support tab to send messages. Unique features: proxy server settings, UCheck Mini-Scan to notify about outdated or out-of-use apps on PC.

Pros:

  • Portable version available
  • Quick and well-performing scan
  • Easy to use, interface themes to choose

Cons:

  • Database updates only manually
  • No real-time protection mode
  • Some features aren't fully implemented
Ankit Gupta
"I am sure that my files are always in safe”
Malwarefox
$ 5.99For Your Phone
$ 24.95For You
$ 24.95For ​Home / Business

Available on

Key Features

  • Hijacker removal
  • Cloud scan
  • Browser cleanup

It has both free and Premium version, the difference being that most of anti-malware features are available in the latter, e.g. real-time protection, set of anti-adware/anti-spyware/anti-rootkit utilities. Actually free version is a 14-day free trial with a forced watermark. 43 menu languages, well-designed and intuitive UI, but questionable color solutions and visible borders between screens. In terms of functionality, MalwareFox offers scanning, quarantine, removal and event logs/history. There is no ability to adjust scanning or select scan type, as it basically works in 1 mode which is a “quick scan”, which performs mediocre (5 out of 18 threats during testing).

On the other hand, there’s a handy drag-n-drop area to check files/folders individually if needed, plus program status tab - with license, system health, date of last scanning, date of last updates, etc. Extra tools include: a) exclusions - to uncheck certain files/folders as safe; b) auto launch at PC startup - to minimize risks (but there’s no password); c) automatic send off of unknown files for cloud scanning; d) sound alerts when threats are detected; e) detection of suspicious certificates (though unclear policy about the process); and more

Pros:

  • Anti-adware
  • 24/7 support
  • Cloud analysis, detailed reports

Cons:

  • No ability to select a scanning mode
  • Only 14 days trial instead of free version
  • Difficult menu, colors, poor scan settings
Abhishek Macwan
"Excellent”
Xvirus Anti-Malware
Free
$ 19.99Pro

Available on

Key Features

  • Real-time mode
  • Cloud scanning
  • Self-defense

Although Xvirus is totally free with no ads or functionality restrictions, and the interface is straightforward, some might find it unattractive to use a black-and-green design and no ability to change it. Otherwise, it has everything one needs in an anti-malware tool: scanning (3 modes are quick, full, manual), database updates, whitelist, logs, and settings. There are lots of settings for various scenarios, yet additional brief pop-up guides would be helpful. Several scanning modes and real-time monitoring are decent, though Xvirus lacks tools like browser scan, RAm scan, log search. Scheduler offers 3 basic options: daily, weekly and monthly.

A really handy tool in Xvirus is startup entries monitoring - it alerts a user if there’s any effort to add new unauthorized entries, to allow it or quarantine it (hint: it really works). Quarantine is only basics, you won’t find much information about date, threat type, etc. Scanning logs, presented in a .txt file, are also inconvenient and lack the same key data. However, whitelist works both automatically (in accordance with latest malware signatures) and manually (from scanning results specified by a user). Plus, there’s an Auto Mode for those who don’t have time or skills to adjust every detail. Xvirus incorporates self-defense technology not to let malware turn the protection off and do the harm.

Pros:

  • Free of charge
  • Effective real-time protection
  • Auto Mode to save time

Cons:

  • Only few menu languages
  • No popup tips in settings
  • No separation by simple mode and advanced mode
Cortex
"Good, but there are issues on start up without internet access”
HitmanPro
$ 24.95HitmanPro
$ 38.95HitmanPro.Alert

Available on

Key Features

  • Quarantine
  • Cryptoguard
  • Logs

A decent malware detection and removal program that requires no installation, thus, consuming less resources and time. With nice and to-the-point interface, localized in 30 languages, work is organized in step-by-step fashion, from scanning to neutralization. Though, some users might find it frustrating not being able to return to the main page after certain action. It is quite flexible in use, offering handy options that other anti-malware apps do not possess, e.g. ability to change the “Delete” status to “Quarantine” or “Ignore” for each threat, or special settings for scanning process, log data, access to hard drive, etc.

Detection is effective, although a user won’t be able to pause scanning or perform on-demand checks - only default or scheduled scans scans are available. In addition to typical anti-malware functionality, HitmanPro introduces innovative tools, such as “VirusTotal” - a cloud scanning tool that checks suspicious files using 67 malware signatures; and “Early warning scoring” - a scanning type that determines risk areas on PC and assigns an index so a user could be more attentive.

Pros:

  • Can detect and remove big amount of different malicious files
  • Portable app, with extensive settings, saved logs, etc.
  • Free trial version for 30 days

Cons:

  • No pause option for scanning or deletion
  • Certain interface inconveniences
  • Technical support insufficient
BILLSAMUEL
"It did not cleared the widespread malware”
Malware Hunter
$ 24.971 Year

Available on

Key Features

  • 3 Scan modes
  • Avira engine
  • Malware removal

Utilizing Avira engine, it is a fine program to detect malware through 3 types of scans and to optimize a PC afterwards. Extensive database that is also being regularly updated. By and large, Malware Hunter suits best for personal use, with free and Pro versions, for those who want to insure against modern web threats and data leaks. Scanning does not slow down the machine, displays stages, progress, files found, and can be stopped, paused or resumed. Reports section provides threat analysis after detection, with risk level, type, as well as search or export options. Neat and compact interface is easy to operate, with features located on the left - scan, speed up, settings, clean up, etc. Extra tools available: CleanUp - to wipe the registry, plugins, random memory; SpeedUp - to analyze and improve startup files, running apps, system files, network, etc.

Pros:

  • Interactive scanning process, with many details
  • Avira engine with high rate of signature detection
  • Extra tools for PC optimization

Cons:

  • No ability to inspect individual files and folders
  • Scanning reports can’t be exported, only to view
  • No proper technical support and manuals
NoBodiSpecial
"Unfair AV which make you use it”
Zemana AntiMalware
Free
$ 24.951 PC
$ 58.953 PCs
$ 70.955 PCs

Available on

Key Features

  • File fingerprint analysis
  • Quarantine
  • Regular updates

The core principle of Zemana protection is detecting fingerprints of files and comparing it with cloud database. While installing it, a user may choose the option to automatically send any unknown files/objects for cloud analysis, yet confidentiality policy on this is a bit unclear. The interface may benefit from re-design, as with such large window space the elements are huge in size, as well as distances between them. This is a free anti-malware product, that lacks in functionality too.

There are no active protection components, no scan settings, no whitelist, no self-defense mechanisms, therefore it is advised to use it as an extra tool, not the main one to rely on. Also, it didn’t detect any of the test files we ran through. In terms of adjustments, one can set a default action for threats - put into quarantine or remove, and as it appears there is no remediation. For free products by this vendor, there’s the option to “display Zemana Antimalware promotional messages” and “display notification area messages”, the latter being of better use.

Pros:

  • Free, optimized and lightweight
  • Works without leaving traces on PC
  • Quick and easy to install/use

Cons:

  • Poor malware detection results
  • Inconvenient interface, no descriptions
  • Quite lengthy scanning process
IHELPKIDS
"Fine additional protection”
ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall
$ 19.951 PC
$ 29.955 PCs

Available on

Key Features

  • Malware detection
  • Antivirus
  • Firewall

Two-way Firewall

Stops Internet attacks at the front door and even catches thieves on their way out. Our two-way firewall proactively protects against inbound and outbound attacks while making you invisible to hackers.


Advanced Firewall 

No product is 100% effective against viruses or spyware. ZoneAlarm's advanced firewall monitors behaviors within your computer to spot and stop even the

Darrin W.
"Good company with good software”
STOPzilla AntiMalware
$ 19.951 PC
$ 29.953 PCs
$ 39.955 PCs

Available on

Key Features

  • Quarantine
  • Scheduler
  • Events log

A basic-level malware protection product that executes its prime task: detects over 80% of online threats instantly, as testing proved. Full scanning has even better rate, close to 100% efficiency, though it might last quite some time (2 hours in our case). While many anti-malware products lack a decent scheduler, STOPzilla offers extensive and flexible time settings in combination with scan types, quick or full, and works without glitches. Infected files end up in quarantine section, as usual, until an action is taken - to destroy safely or to restore and allow the file in. Logs are not displayed after the scan, but they are in place and can be saved on PC. Reaching the support is easy via a tab inside the program, that will bring a user into live chat to communicate with managers directly. The same for updates - just click the button, get it without delays, view data about last updates and the current version.

Pros:

  • Effective real-time protection
  • Quick and helpful technical support
  • Tips about processor loads

Cons:

  • Quite lengthy full scan
  • Low choice of menu languages
  • Outdated design
Paul G
"it does its work very well”
Dr.Web CureIt!
Free
$ 19.351 year
$ 38.702 Years
$ 58.063 Years

Available on

Key Features

  • Portable
  • Sound notifications
  • Detailed reports
Have doubts about the effectiveness of your antivirus? 1. Download Dr.Web CureIt! and save the utility on your hard drive. 2. Double-click the saved file to launch it. 3. Wait until scanning is complete and then examine the scan report.

Clemens
" I don't recommend to buy this product ”
MalwareBytes
Free
$ 39.99Premium
$ 119.97Business

Available on

Key Features

  • Real-time protection
  • URL blocking
  • PC cleaner

Unbeatable real-time antimalware protection, various scan types (thread, custom, hyper) and overwhelming focus on fighting malicious software make it #1 product among users. Working with Malwarebytes means the ability to pause and resume scans at any time, remove or ignore threats to PC, utilize local and web attack efforts. Primarily, it guards against illegal hacker actions, data leaks, harmful websites, but it also monitors the system (memory, startup, registry, file system, archives, rootkits). Good usability where everything is segmented in left-menu tabs, and compatibility with numerous operating systems, though overall functionality is restricted in free edition as expected.

Blocking malware coming from the web doesn’t affect the performance, while detection of malware on PC will lead to threat removal and PC restart, want it or not. Threats are placed into quarantine with enough details to track “what is what and who is who, and then choose one of the options - ignore or delete. For every scan, detection and removal there are saved logs with full data. In settings a user may easily tune everything to his/her liking, set the date and time for next check (besides active protection), set exclusions for file or websites that are trusted. There are home and business editions, plus 25% discounts if 2-year subscription is purchased.

Key features: thread/custom/hyper scan, real-time antimalware protection, malware removal, quarantine, scheduling.

Pros:

  • Effectively detects and removes spyware, botnets, etc.
  • Easy to use, straightforward user guidelines
  • Enhances real-time protection against malware/ransomware when used with antivirus

Cons:

  • Needs reinforcement from antivirus software
  • Cannot be automatically scheduled for periodical scans
  • Most features quickly expire prompting to buy full subscription
Dhruv2193
"Best security software for finding zero hour and elusive malware”
Malware Killer
Free
$ 19.96Full

Available on

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop scan
  • Exclude list
  • Restore point

Malware Killer by a US-based vendor does not make friends with an antivirus, so to install and run it properly, one would have to turn it off beforehand. Also, note that this antimalware only works as a scanner, and there’s no active protection in real-time. Yet overall, is easy to use, does not consume lots of PC resources. Free version detects threat but does not remove malware - only paid subscription.

However, there are a bunch of useful features, e.g. drag-n-drop scan - check any file anytime simply by dragging it into Malware Killer window; context menu integration - similarly, right-click any file and select scanning; scan scheduler - to set checks periodically; cloud-based scans - only automatic sending of unknown objects as a whole, not separately. User settings are pretty flexible: from restore points, quarantine, secure reports (txt), to exclude list (for files/folders, as well as scan results), suspicious certificates detection. The app is great for those seeking some basic antimalware tool with low hardware requirements and low on resources, scanning and malware removal features, and affordable price.

Pros:

  • Сloud-based scanning
  • Drag-n-drop files/folders for deep scan
  • Low requirements, “just the basics” functionality

Cons:

  • No automatic updates
  • No permanent protection in real-time
  • Installation issues related to antivirus
Stronghold AntiMalware
$ 29.95License

Available on

Key Features

  • Toolbar removal
  • Scheduler
  • Activity monitor

A product with several atypical features and lots of settings to set up user protection against malware and malvertising. In case a browser gets heavy with ads, popups and suspicious activity, there’s “Browser settings reset” for example, which is somewhat extreme, as it resets all the browsers on a given PC at once. For a lighter action, use “Toolbar removal” feature, that eliminates history, extensions, bookmarks for a selected browser. Active monitor feature is great if you want to exclude certain apps from active scanning. To decrease processor load, there’s “Hybrid cloud” option - to utilize cloud storage while scanning instead of PC resources.

On the other hand, anti-malware performance and efficiency is mediocre, as the program does not detect all threats, and in trial there’s no possibility to delete infections. Full and quick scan available, with the latter lasting about 10-15 minutes on average. “Restore changes” allows to reverse the removal, but unclear about how it works or what it means. The Support tab will bring you to the website with FAQ and contact form. Trial version is free without time limit but with limited functionality.

Pros:

  • Plenty of extra features
  • Great technical support
  • Free trial version for lifetime

Cons:

  • Unable to remove malware in trial
  • Average detection rate
  • Frequent crashes
ByteFence
Free
$ 29.95ByteFence PRO 12
$ 59.95ByteFence PRO 3

Available on

Key Features

  • Do not disturb mode
  • Whitelist
  • Antivirus

Quick scanning and browser inspection are the highlights of ByteFence, which is a typical malware removal niche product. As proved by testing, it can find threats that other programs couldn’t and general detection rate is above 90%. Otherwise, there’s a lot of room for improvements. Scheduler only has 2 modes: daily or weekly, which isn’t great. Gaming mode that turns off any external alerts provides very little information to a user. Browser control identifies suspicious homepages, analyzes plugins and add-ons, but does not clean and optimize to the full effect.

Key features: malware detection and removal, whitelist, game mode, statistics.

Pros:

  • Quick scan with high detection rate
  • Nice design, easy to use
  • Both free edition and trial for Pro available

Cons:

  • Only the basics
  • No scan logs
  • Browser cleaning incomplete
NoVirusThanks Malware Remover
Free

Available on

Key Features

  • Detection & removal
  • Exclusion list
  • Logs & backups

No-nonsense straightforward software product similar to Windows removal tool - good for those who only require to find malware, ransomware or spyware on a PC and get rid of it. Scanning is rated average as full check is lengthy but detects everything, while quick scan isn’t efficient enough. Logs, available after an action is taken towards corrupt files, are opened as .txt files and can also be exported to external drives. The only extra feature presented in exclusions list to specify files to skip, so if malware is whitelisted it won’t be removed. This free malware remover tool is good as an entry-level, basic task app.

Pros:

  • Free edition available
  • Proper settings for scanning and whitelist
  • Tab with Windows utilities inside

Cons:

  • No quarantine, no real-time
  • Only English language menu
  • Scheduler only in Pro
CryptoPrevent Anti-Malware
$ 20.001 Year
$ 51.003 Years
$ 75.005 Years

Available on

Key Features

  • Security presets
  • SR Policies
  • KillEmAll Silent

CryptoPrevent is a robust anti-virus/anti-malware software supplement, filling a huge gap that exists with traditional security solutions to provide protection against a growing multitude of new and emerging ransomware and other malicious software threats.

Norton Power Eraser is a free virus removal tool that can be downloaded and run to remove malware and threats from your computer. You can run this tool to scan for threats even if you have a Symantec product, or any other security product. If you cannot start the computer in Normal mode, you can run this tool in Safe mode.

Secure Hunter
Free
$ 20.00Pro

Available on

Key Features

  • 3 Scan modes
  • Malware Removal
  • Ignore list

Installing from a .zip file, and then works by analyzing incoming files and running them by antivirus database. Overall, Secure Hunter is good for home or personal use, with both free and paid editions presented. It defends against spying programs, adware, trojans, rootkits, worms, keyboard spies, etc. by inspecting files, services, drivers, startup, MBR and archives on PC. The interface is somewhat overloaded and unorganized. Scanning offers three modes: “custom hunter”, “full system hunter”, “computer scan” aka quick scan. In process it only shows the number of processed files, detections and type, there’s no ability to pause it. Threats can be deleted or ignored, but not restored after deletion. For guidance and work issues, there’s a tab to send feedback to vendor.

Pros:

  • Free version without limitations
  • All actions accessible in the main windows
  • Automatic database updates

Cons:

  • Uninformative scanning, no pause option
  • Clumsy and disorganized interface
  • Many issues in performance
GridinSoft Anti-Malware
$ 29.956 Months
$ 39.951 Year
$ 89.95VIP Lifetime

Available on

Key Features

  • Real-time defense
  • Manual updates
  • Autostart control

Light blue color interface and buttons with static or pop-up tips greet users in GridinSoft app against malicious software. Free version is available but it does not grant real-time defense, and basically it is more of a demo-version with limited set of features. Trial can be received for 6 days if you register via email personally. Yet even in passive mode, detection is strong, catching up to 80% of threats. There’s quick and standard scan, full and custom scan.

In regards to usability GridinSoft offers plenty of choices: Internet security on/off (anti-phishing, only in Pro version), On-Run protection on/off (controls programs launch, yet no details offered and available in Pro only), Removable device on/off (to inspect USB drives, camera, etc.), logs (only in Pro), Ignore list (separated in 2 lists: files/folders and websites), Auto-delete quarantined files on/off (although it might be rather damaging than useful, as certain files could be critical and still falsely marked). Additionally, the program offers extra functions, e.g. Stealth mode - makes web browsing invisible to track and blocks unknown incoming files; Terminate memory threats while scanning - “on” by default, which might be risky.

Key features: real-time protection, webcam access control, quarantine, custom scan.

Unique features: Stealth mode, webcam security mode, auto-delete threats.

Pros:

  • Webcam protection
  • Prevents infections from external drives and memory sticks
  • Detailed logs

Cons:

  • Time-consuming scanning types
  • No real free version, clumsy interface
  • Signatures updates and software updates aren’t separated

More about Anti-Malware software

What is anti-malware?

A type of security software that guards PC/laptop/mobile device against malicious software, a.k.a. malware. It has two major tasks: to detect and prevent malware from infecting computers, and to find and remove malware if its already in the system. Often, anti-malware comes as a part of Internet security suites, along with anti-spam, safe browsing, parental control etc.

In recent years there has been a significant rise in types of malware (ransomware, spyware, adware, cryptojacking, rootkits, email phishing, viruses, etc.) as well as unlawful cyber-crime attacks. According to Statista, each year literally billions of malware attacks take place worldwide. Consequently, antimalware tools are in high demand.

Why or when should you use anti-malware?

Malware attacks and tricks are evolving all the time, and top security software applies various methods of detection and database of malicious signatures to identify threats in real-time. On enterprise level, with computer networks and valuable data, anti malware may be set to provide such protection, as well as track metrics and analytic tools for insights. On personal level, you might become a victim of hacked Facebook / Instagram account any given moment, potentially causing harm to reputation.

How is it different from antivirus?

One of the leading vendors of anti-malware gave a clear explanation, and if paraphrasing, a virus is a specific threat, and malware is a term encompassing a multitude of threats, therefore any virus is malware, but malware isn’t only viruses. In contrast to antivirus programs, anti-malware focuses on the newest threats on the web and is updating much more regularly. Antimalware programs help fight the following online threats:

  • Malware – malicious programs or codes that aim to invade and damage computers/devices, i.e. viruses, worms, trojans, cryptomining, keyloggers, rootkits, explouts, etc.
  • Ransomware – a type of malware that blocks users from system or personal files, demanding payment to regain access.
  • Spyware – malicious programs that infect a PC/phone to collect user information, browsing habits, etc., i.e. password stealers, banking trojans, keyloggers.
  • Adware – programs that aim to display ads on a screen or in a browser, a.k.a. PUPs – potentially unwanted programs.
  • Cryptojacking – a newly emerging threat, programs that hide on devices and use it to mine cryptocurrencies.
  • Phishing – the most direct and blatant form of hacking in form of deceiving users into sharing sensitive data, like passwords or credit card numbers. Malwarebytes Premium detects such suspicious sites and warns you from going there. 
  • Botnets - intended to corrupt a network of machines globally or in an intended target organisation to perform a number of functions such as steal data or block certain keywords/articles/content from being visible on search engines.
  • Wiper malware - intended to delete or completely wipe out the intended target’s sensitive data so that the user cannot gain access.
  • Other malware/scripts include computer worms, scareware, cryptocurrency mining malware and computer viruses.

Best anti-malware programs 

It’s a ‘David and Goliath’ type situation with software against malware, where Malwarebytes stands tallest and glorious, foreshadowing any other contenders. You can find our own in-depth Malwarebytes review to learn more. Though, it does not mean other contenders are worthless. Malwarebytes, of course, gained firm ground with its usability, powerful scanning, stability, real-time detection. It offers a 14-day free trial, and the basic one-year plan costs $40, and let’s leave it at that. 

Overall, a reputable and effective anti-malware program should offer tools such as scan scheduler, quarantine and removal, exclusions, PUP detection, anti-adware, anti-spyware, program cleaner, etc. Exact techniques may differ from software to software: signature-based detection (databases of known malware to check suspicious files), behavior-based detection (detecting yet unknown malware through characteristics, intentions, machine learning), and sandboxing (using isolated virtual environment to test suspicious files before allowing them in).

If a user has a preference of certain antimalware method, he can research security programs on the market and select his best. Strong Malwarebytes alternatives could easily be IObit Malware Fighter, Emsisoft, AVG, Spybot, HitmanPro, Avast. In fact, we'd also point towards WMSRT - Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool - an easy option to scan for issues, that can not be discarded too.

Actually, to compare real performance we selected the top 15 antimalware apps, including the ones mentioned above and some few more and put them to test. It demonstrated that in terms of scan time and detected threats, Malwarebytes, HitmanPro, Spybot ‘Search and Destroy’, GridinSoft were the most efficient. Check out full results below. 

Product Installation time Disk space occupied Full scan time Files scanned Threats detected
Malwarebytes 1 min 193 MB min 216,762 51
HitmanPro 1 min 11 MB min 301,544 15
Emsisoft 4 min 430 MB 83 min 223,868 1
AVG Antivirus 2 min 760 MB min N/A 1
Spybot 1 min 221 MB 72 min N/A 63
Windows MSRT 1 min 46 MB min 9,334 3
RansomFree 3 min 5 MB N/A N/A 1
Zemana 0.5 min 17 MB 16 min 57,701 4
Comodo 1 min 116 MB 75 min N/A 55
Avast Antivirus 4 min 903 MB min N/A 2
GridinSoft 2 min 130 MB 35 min 48,069 38
IObit Malware Fighter 1 min 126 MB 200 min 283,814 2
Xvirus 0.1 min 30 MB 240 min 202,359 5
STOPzilla 3 min  44 MB 62 min 49,674 4
Malware Killer 2 min 17 MB 20 min 34,195 2

Types / Features 

As we’ve mentioned, each anti-malware applies different detection strategy, or a combination, to protect against damaging code. So, we may divide them in 3 types: 

  • Signature-based, such as Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home or McAfee.
  • Behavior-based, such as Malwarebytes or HitmanPro.
  • Sandbox, such as Cuckoo Sandbox, Shade or FortiSandbox.

Each type has peculiarities in user interface, system requirements, malware removal options, that should be in mind of a conscious customer. 

By business model, there could be a distinction between all-in-one internet security suites and specialized programs. Avast, AVG, Kaspersky and so forth are good examples of security suite, where certain anti-malware tools are part of bigger integrated system. Malwarebytes, Malware Killer, Cybereason and others are software specifically designed to prevent malware and nothing more.

Which type is more relevant is still a subject of discussion. At the same time, general malware prevention measures while browsing the Internet include the following:

  • Not opening suspicious email or links as this could lead to phishing and data harvesting, by cyber attackers;
  • Regularly updating the Windows operating system and other software;
  • Investing in strong antivirus programs;
  • Taking appropriate action on suspected threats as advised by an antivirus;
  • Using firewalls, a secure web browser;
  • Not installing unknown or illegally downloaded software.

Trends

Malware, PUA/PUP, malicious scripts are on the rise, evolving constantly. In 2018, evasive malware and exploit kits emerged as one of the ways to pass through security software, for instance ransomware such as Cryptomix, Spora, TeslaCrypt, JigSaw. More and more attackers use malicious cryptomining, running hidden scripts on users’ devices without permission, basically hijacking resources, electricity, etc.

anti-malware vs antivirus

For anti-malware tools the upcoming years will be a busy time. Digital security suites are investing more money and introducing new techniques to protect computers, smartphones, networks, servers, IoT devices. New methods such as so called “vaccinations” against malware families (misleading malware to think it is already in the system), and others will have to up the game. 

Malwarebytes Labs predicts the following challenges for 2019: high-profile password breaches, AI-assisted malware, self-propagating exploits like EternalBlue to spread infections, more attacks on Microsoft Edge browser, skimming - i.e. hijacking checkout pages and intercepting payment information.   

FAQ 

What is anti-malware software? 

Anti-malware (a.k.a. Antimalware, anti malware, malware removal software, malware scanner tools) are special software programs that detect and remove malware from computer devices. Anti-malware protects against malicious scripts, viruses, rootkits, ransomware, spyware, adware. 

How does anti malware work? 

To prevent malware, this special type of security software implies three main methods: signature-based malware detection (see the 2nd paragraph above), behavior-based detection (by intentions, behaviors, actions, etc.) and sandboxing - testing stuff in virtual environment before allowing it into the system. By design, anti-malware can do the following tasks: block suspicious websites, quarantine the detected malware, display data about the infections and insights into how and how far a malicious script has compromised a network.

What is the best anti-malware?

You can’t go wrong with Malwarebytes, HitmanPro, Emsisoft, Comodo, Zemana, AVG/Avast. For more considerations, pros and cons, tips and more read our product reviews, sich as Malwarebytes, Malware Fighter, Spybot, etc.  

Is anti-malware and antivirus the same thing?

No, but similar. A virus is also a malware, but malware isn’t necessarily a virus. Thus, an antivirus software protects against computer viruses specifically, while antimalware covers a wider range of threats: trojans, worms, unwanted apps, ransomware, cryptomining, adware, exploits, keylogging, etc. Many antivirus programs have been expanding their functionality to defend against malware too. The best practice is to use both.

What is Malwarebytes anti-exploit?

Anti-Exploit is a security program that was bought out by malwarebytes from ZeroVulnerabilityLabs, and is now in beta-version, as of January 2019. It runs in the background and specifically targets zero-day exploits in browsers, rootkits, phishing scams, malicious links and sites. It is only available in Premium package.  

What is Bytefence? Is it good?

Firstly, this is just one of the anti-malware programs and a popular antivirus. Secondly, it got (in)famous due to often being distributed in a bundle with another software which essentially means PUA. So it’s kind of “fight-crime-with-crime” situation. Many users online recommend removing it because it got them more malware instead of preventing it. We can neither confirm or disprove any information until we’ve tested it ourselves, so caution is our tip right now.  

How to choose the right antimalware program?

Go with reliable and reputable. Seek programs that can protect itself against termination by another software, that won’t cause conflicts with antivirus, that can automate scanning and is always up-to-date. A good anti-malware is often an “all-inclusive” package/suite - with security scanning, parental control, password manager, web protection, backup and restore, firewall, etc. It should not affect PC boot time and overall performance, be easy to navigate, fast in scanning, provide full control over all elements. 

About review process 

We review top software products of given category, usually 10 to 15, and post it on our ThinkMobiles blog. We take reviews seriously, so it takes a while, however we’ll be covering as many categories as possible in the nearest future. We strive to bring value in reviews, so instead of few sentences and promo-pictures, we install and run each program for few days, study every feature, test the performance, explore all possibilities and limitations, make screenshots, record all the data. 

Afterwards, we summarize the data, parameters, pricing, etc. in a comparison table, compile our experiences with each product into descriptions, pros and cons, add download/trial links. As a rule, we devote a separate chapter to performance tests (or comparison charts) measuring times it takes for software to execute various tasks. Finally, our reviews are independent and unbiased, we apply the same due process and testing for the advertised products.   

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