Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions review

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions review

The veteran malware hunter aims to replace your antivirus – and there’s a VPN, too. Epblogs goal is to be the tech side of trust. We are proud of our independence and of our Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions review thorough testing methods, in which we take our time with a product. We regularly check our test reports for changes and thus keep them up-to-date over a longer period of time – regardless of when a device was released.guaranteed reviews. Trust our Epblogs comprehensive reviews. We tested the products over a longer period of time and were able to see how they cope with everyday tasks. This is how we help you to find the best product for your read our guaranteed reviews.

Epblogs verdict

Malwarebytes Premium is small and simple to use, but it lacks many features and its lab test results are frequently subpar. If you like the product, use it (or the free edition) as a second opinion scanner, but for the best security, use it in conjunction with another antivirus program.

Quick Summary

Malwarebytes Mobile Security may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the other top Android antivirus apps, but it offers effective protection for your phone or tablet against the worst threats the internet has to offer. The software has been downloaded by more than 10 million users, and the Google Play Store has given it a 4.4 rating. The Premium app has both a free version and a 30-day trial.

The Premium + Privacy version includes access to the company’s VPN while the Premium version offers protection through a combination of scanning, real-time analysis, website warnings, and the ability to keep potentially harmful apps off your machine. You might be better off using one of the top VPN services instead because the VPN software is standalone and lacks integration.

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Overall, Malwarebytes for Android is expensive for what it offers but can shield a device from an avalanche of digital threats. You may use our Malwarebytes Mobile Security review to determine whether or not this Android antivirus program offers the security your Android devices require.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions How Much Costs

The free Mobile Security app from Malwarebytes offers fundamental security. In addition to being able to detect viruses and unapproved apps, its Privacy Checker examines each app to see if access capabilities are excessive, and the Security Audit offers solutions to security flaws. The malware app’s 30-day trial period in the Play Store is reduced to 14 days on the company’s website, while the VPN trial period is only seven days.

The company also offers two enhanced versions, the most affordable of which is Malwarebytes Mobile Security Premium at $12 per year. It covers everything, from guarding against ransomware and uninstalling advertising to limiting the installation of unwanted apps and security against loading websites with a history of disseminating malware.

The Premum + Privacy plan adds a full VPN but also ups the bill to $100 a year or $8.33 a month to cover five devices compared to Avast Ultimate’s similar $90 plan. The company does not offer a plan with access to one of the best identity theft protection services.

Malwarebytes has apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS and sells a multiplatform annual license for up to five systems for $80. Malwarebytes Mobile Security for iOS can warn of dangerous sites and block annoying spam text messages as well as calls but because of Apple’s restrictions, it can’t scan for malware.

The WearOS watch is incompatible with the Malwarebytes app, which requires Android 7 (Nougat) or newer on a device. The app automatically runs the appropriate software after determining during installation whether you’re using an Android smartphone or a Chromebook. It only only on Chromebooks that have access to the Google Play Store, though.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes installs quickly and easily. We were offered the chance to have a 14-day trial of Malwarebytes Premium, and although this requires handing over an email address, there were no other hassles of any kind (we didn’t even have to confirm our email.)

Checking the Malwarebytes installation folders showed a relatively lightweight package with around 400MB of files, and just a couple of significant background processes.

This didn’t look a package that would slow you down, but AV-Comparatives’ last Performance Test results suggested otherwise, placing Malwarebytes a disappointing 14th out of 17 contenders.

Malware may try to disable antivirus before attempting to infect a system, so a good security app needs to be able to protect itself. We test for this by launching various attacks of our own – deleting files, closing processes, disabling services, more – and checking to see if our performance remains intact.

Malwarebytes began well, with its core service beating off all our attempts to close it down, remove or disable it.

But then we managed to unload a key Malwarebytes filter driver with a single command, killing its ability to inspect files as they’re accessed. 

This doesn’t automatically mean you’re vulnerable in every situation. An attacker could only launch this type of attack if it’s able to run malicious code on your system as an administrator; Malwarebytes should detect most dangerous files before they can run anything, and if it misses something, this shouldn’t have admin rights.

Even if a malware makes it over those hurdles, there’s still a chance Malwarebytes could block it at the behavioral level.

Still, this is a clumsy security hole which we rarely see with top antivirus apps, and it leaves us wondering if there may be other issues we missed.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Antivirus

If you’re the hands-off, ‘set and forget’ type, there’s not much to do after installation. Malwarebytes runs in the background and protects you immediately, with nothing else to do.

When you need to run an on-demand scan, that’s as easy as double-clicking Malwarebytes’ system tray icon, hitting the Scan button and waiting for the results. It’s all very straightforward, and even the least technical of newbies will feel at home right away.

Malwarebytes main Scan feature quickly checks memory, startup items and key areas of your file system. It made sensible choices on our test system, examining enough areas to be useful, but not so many that we were kept waiting for results, and completed in a speedy 7 minutes 25 seconds. (If you’re in a real hurry, a Quick Scan checked RAM and startup objects in as little as 5 seconds on our review system.)

Scan times overall proved reasonable, with Malwarebytes checking our 50GB of test executables in 25:18 minutes for the first scan, 21:18 for the second. That’s similar to many other vendors, although some speed up later scans by only checking new and changed files (Bitdefender Home Premium took 50 minutes for scan #1, for instance, but dropped to 50 seconds by scan #2.)

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Scan types

A separate Custom Scan enables choosing the items you’d like checked, including specific files and folders, and gives you a little control over how they work (whether it should scan inside archives, and what to do with ‘potentially unwanted programs’, for instance.) It’s a welcome touch, although doesn’t begin to match the high level of control you’ll see with more geek-friendly products from Avast, Avira and others.

You’re able to scan files, folders or drives from the right-click Explorer menu. Unfortunately, the Windows client can’t handle simultaneous on-demand scans, so try this when it’s running a regular scan and you’ll be told you must wait. This isn’t a critical issue – Malwarebytes’ engine still picks up threats as they appear, even if another scan is running – but it’s a hassle that you don’t get with the best antivirus.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions URL Filtering

Malwarebytes also provides simple URL filtering, detecting and blocking any attempts to access malicious links. This works at the network level, with no need for browser extensions, ensuring it protects all your apps.

Results were only average in our tests, but even that’s enough to be useful, and it’s a worthwhile addition to the package.

The Settings dialog is mostly about toggling features on and off (updates, notifications, web filtering, malware protection and so on), but you do get fine-tuned control over Malwarebytes’ exploit protection, where the packages uses multiple techniques to protect against zero-day attacks for common applications and application types.

These options are so technical that even the most expert of users might struggle to know what to do with them. (Should you apply ‘Dynamic Anti-HeapSpraying Enforcement’ to all your browsers, for instance? Quickly, now.) Other options are easier to understand, though (‘Disable loading of VBScript libraries’), and just having this level of control does bring some benefits. If you find your PDF reader isn’t working properly after installing Malwarebytes, for instance, turning off the various exploit features for PDF apps might deliver a fix.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Extra Features

If you’re hoping for a pile of bonus features – or any extras at all – then you’re out of luck. There’s no specialist banking protection here, no password manager, none of the items you might get with some packages. This focus on the fundamentals does at least keep Malwarebytes easy to use, though, and if you don’t need that kind of extra, you might appreciate its simplicity and lack of clutter.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Protection

Malwarebytes has never been the best performer in conventional lab tests.

AV-Comparatives’ July-October Real-World Protection test saw Malwarebytes placed 13th out of 17 contenders with a protection score of 99.6%.

AV-Test was even less impressed, awarding Malwarebytes 5.5/6 for protection in its October 2021 Windows Home User test. That placed it 19th out of 21 apps: only K7 Security and eScan scored lower.

Malwarebytes hasn’t submitted its software to SE-Labs consumer tests for a while. It does appear in the Q1 2021 Consumer Report, though, where it came last out of 15 with a Total Protection rating of 91% (Sophos, AVG, ESET and even Microsoft Defender scored 100%.)

That’s not great. Okay, it’s terrible. To try to verify this, maybe get some more detail, we put Malwarebytes through a few tests of our own.

The first involved test apps which exploited common Windows tools to create processes, download malicious files and generally behave in a suspect way. Malwarebytes ignored the behavior and, initially, the files. It blocked them all on launch, though, keeping us safe.

That’s a good end-result, but others are more cautious. Top performer Trend Micro spotted our test app’s dodgy-looking actions, and close their processes before they could download anything. Kaspersky and Bitdefender detected some of the behavior, and if they missed anything, spotted the malicious files when they were downloaded (no waiting for them to be executed.)

As a second, more high-stakes test, we pitted Malwarebytes against a simple ransomware simulator of our own creation. As the engine wouldn’t have seen this before, we would see if its behavior monitoring alone could detect the threat.

The results weren’t good, with Malwarebytes doing nothing at all as our simulator encrypted thousands of test documents.

Other vendors score much higher on this test. Trend Micro, Kaspersky and Bitdefender not only spotted our simulator by its actions alone, they also killed the process and recovered the handful of lost files, ensuring we didn’t lose a byte of data.

We normally don’t treat failing this test as a major black mark, because our test is a single sample, not even real malware, and it’s unsafe to draw big conclusions from so little data.

In this case, though, it does broadly match what the labs are saying: Malwarebytes simply doesn’t deliver the protection you’ll get from the best vendors, and that has to be a concern.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Final verdict

Malwarebytes Premium is a likeable security app which will make your PC a little safer, but it’s not the full antivirus replacement claimed on the website. Grab a copy of the free version (evaluated below), maybe, but run it alongside another antivirus app to ensure your safety.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Premium + Privacy

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy is, well, the name tells you everything: it’s the commercial Malwarebytes Premium plus the company’s VPN(opens in new tab) product, Malwarebytes Privacy.

Privacy uses Malwarebytes’ own apps (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS are supported), but these connect to Mullvad’s network underneath. That’s fine with us; it’s a solid VPN with excellent speeds and a strong focus on privacy.

The network looks a little small at 400+ servers in 30+ countries. They’re well spread, though, with thirteen locations in the US alone, so there’s a good chance you’ll have a server near you.

The apps are basic in the extreme, but there are technical pluses underneath. Malwarebytes Privacy connects via the fast and secure WireGuard protocol, for instance, and its apps include a kill switch to protect you if the connection drops.

Pricing isn’t bad at $100 to protect five devices and antivirus and VPN for a year – Mullvad( charges $70+ for its VPN alone – but other top suites give you many more features.

Norton 360 Deluxe, for instance, includes antivirus, a VPN, parental controls, Dark Web monitoring, a password manager, webcam protection, hosted backup with 50GB of cloud storage, and more, and a five device license costs $35 in year one, $105 on renewal. If you’re looking for than just antivirus and a VPN, that looks a significantly better deal.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Privacy

Malwarebytes Privacy has a simple but familiar interface. The dashboard displays your current location; you can choose another from a simple text list, then connect and disconnect with a click. Easy.

Desktop notifications tell you when you’re protected and when you’re not, and the dashboard updates to display your new IP, and highlight its location on a world map.

Switching servers is convenient as there’s no need to close the active connection, first. Just choose a new location from the list and the app reconnects

The app is missing several common features. There’s no Favorites system to group your most commonly used locations. No ping or load figures to help you choose the best servers. You can’t switch protocols, either: it’s strictly WireGuard-only.

Look a little further, though, and you’ll find plenty of useful technical touches. The app can automatically connect when you access insecure networks, for instance. A kill switch protects your identity by blocking internet access if the VPN drops. Support for split tunneling enables controlling which apps use the VPN and which don’t, and a flexible multihop system can route your traffic through two VPN servers for extract privacy. We were impressed, briefly, until we spotted another big omission.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Performance

While most VPN apps try to connect to your nearest server by default, Malwarebytes Privacy doesn’t have an ‘Automatic’ or ‘Fastest’ option. It seems to choose Sweden as a default, wherever you are, leaving you to choose your preferred location manually. 

Connection times were reasonable, at around 5 seconds. And the WireGuard protocol made for excellent performance, with UK download speeds reaching 780Mbps. We’ve seen faster – NordVPN got close to 900Mbps in recent tests – but it’s better than a lot of big names (Windscribe, Private Internet Access) and Surfshark reached 400-500Mbps in recent testing.)

The core VPN engine scored well in some areas. If you’re connected to location A and switch to location B, for instance, most VPN apps close the first connection, leaving you unprotected until they establish the new one. Malwarebytes Privacy seems to use a temporary kill switch, blocking internet traffic for just those few unprotected seconds until the VPN is restored. Smart.

Unfortunately, the actual kill switch was less useful. We sometimes found that when the kill switch was on, the app couldn’t connect: it blocked our internet access so thoroughly, it couldn’t even get online itself. Not so smart.

The bad news continued with our final unblocking tests, too, with Privacy failing to get us into BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Amazon or Disney+.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Final verdict

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy looks cheap, adding a VPN for just $20 more, and speeds are great, but poor unblocking results and assorted technical troubles make it impossible to recommend. Check out a specialist VPN provider, instead – you can get a better service for under $40 a year with the best value long-term contracts.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Free

The free edition of Malwarebytes has no real-time protection and won’t prevent a malware attack, but it can usually detect and remove any existing threats, from annoying adware to the stealthiest of rootkits.

This makes for a very limited application. You don’t have to worry about scan types, or scheduled scans, or all the regular Malwarebytes shields (web filtering, and malware, ransomware and exploit protection) – there’s little to do beyond click Scan when necessary and wait for the report.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Mobile Apps

The free Android app, like its desktop cousin, removes existing malware but can’t prevent new infections. 

There’s a small bonus in a Privacy Audit, which shows you which apps can monitor your calls, track your location or exploit other permissions you might not realize you’ve given away. That’s not worth a lot – you can find other apps to do the same, for free – but we’re happy to see it here. And with a Play Store rating of 4.5, it looks like most users are happy, too.

Malwarebytes free iOS offering is simpler, with just a couple of functions: ad blocking for Safari, and automatic filtering of fraudulent texts.

Malwarebytes is supposed to be about malware protection, of course, and recent Windows testing shows it’s far less effective at this than most of the top competition.

Malwarebytes Free isn’t intended for use as your regular antivirus, though. With no real-time protection, you should be able to install and run it alongside your preferred antivirus as a second opinion, backup scanner.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions Final verdict

Malwarebytes Free isn’t a great antivirus tool, but it could be helpful in a few situations. Use Windows Defender’s real-time protection, for instance (a fair choice as it outperforms some commercial apps), then run a daily Malwarebytes scan to catch everything else. You won’t have the protection you’ll get from the best suites, but you’ll be safe from most threats, and this setup won’t cost you a penny.

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