Is Malwarebytes safe?
Malwarebytes is a safe antivirus service. Their advanced virus detection techniques and several security features protect against a garden variety of online threats. That said, it doesn’t have an integrated firewall. Not to mention, the free version only has malware scans, and other features are locked behind a firewall.
It’s worth mentioning that Malwarebytes were recently affected by a cyberattack. Some of their emails were breached by the same attackers responsible for the SolarWinds hack. So, some of their internal emails were leaked. That said, there is no evidence that any user data was compromised.
Independent Malwarebytes testing
Before you download any antivirus software, it is a good idea to not only read its reviews, but also check its independent testing results. After all, you don’t want your computer to become the test subject – that’s what testing labs are for. The company decided to participate in AV testing in 2018 and their results have been improving ever since.
In April 2021, the 4.3.0 version of Malwarebytes was selected as the top product by the experts. It scored a maximum of 6 points in Performance, Protection, and Usability.
It’s nice to see the improvement, especially when keeping in mind that Malwarebytes has managed to beat the industry average in virus detection. The antivirus program detected from 99.4% to 100% of zero-day threats and 100% of 4-weeks old malware. With results like these, you can be sure that your device is protected.
Moreover, Malwarebytes has recently joined the AV Comparatives testing in 2021. The independent experts performed the Real-World protection, malware protection, and performance tests with it.
Real-World protection tests include using all security-related features on the web. Malwarebytes Premium version showed that it can successfully block from 99.4% to 99.6% threats.
The malware protection tests execute malicious files on the system and not on the web. Unluckily, Malwarebytes results here are not as impressive – experts categorize its security as standard.
However, the testing of its performance shows a rather promising improvement. Malwarebytes performance abilities have risen from standard to advanced in just 6 months (April, 2021 – October, 2021).
Even though Malwarebytes offers quite a few useful features, it is not as feature-rich as, say, Avast, McAfee or any other top antivirus software. For example, you won’t find Parental Control or a firewall in your Malwarebytes antivirus package. However, you won’t miss any crucial features like virus protection or file quarantine – in other words, Malwarebytes will simply act as decent, no-nonsense antivirus product.
There’s one more thing I want to mention in this Malwarebytes review. During installation, the program will ask you whether you want to install it on your home or work computer. Don’t worry about this choice – both versions are identical in terms of features. The only difference is priority customer support for business users, which is not such a big deal for most people.
This is a feature that is only available with the Premium version of Malwarebytes – and it’s quite important, too.
You see, real-time protection is a background process that prevents various online threats (like viruses, malware, and ransomware) from entering your device. It uses minimal system resources and has virtually no effect on CPU usage.
The Real-Time Protection option of Malwarebytes antivirus includes Web Protection (that blocks infected websites), Malware Protection, Ransomware Protection, and Exploit Protection.
Even though included in the Real-Time Protection list, the Exploit Protection feature deserves its own paragraph. That’s because this is an advanced security technique that deals with exploit attacks against security flaws and software vulnerabilities in applications.
These kinds of attacks are much sneakier than regular viruses, as they only require you to open an infected page or a file. Luckily, Malwarebytes Premium has you covered – it “shields” vulnerable applications so that malicious code couldn’t exploit their security issues.
Three system scan modes
If you had Malwarebytes antivirus software on your computer a couple of years ago and decided to reinstall it, don’t be surprised by the scan mode changes. You see, Malwarebytes Version 3 had four types of scans: Full, Threat, Hyper, and Path.
However, Version 4 changed things up a bit. Now, we only have the Quick scan, the Custom scan, and the Threat scan. It seems that Malwarebytes simply adapted to the market and adjusted some of their scanning titles into more familiar ones.
Keep in mind that Malwarebytes can only run one type of scan at a time. For example, you cannot do a system scan and check a specific file for antiviruses. So, schedule them accordingly.
- Quick scan. Lasting up to a minute and using between 0,0 to 0,2% CPU, the quick scan of Malwarebytes scans your device’s memory and startup objects for active threats.
- Threat scan. If you have Malwarebytes Premium, this scan will take place every single day. It will scan memory objects, startup objects, registry objects, as well as file system objects, and it will perform a heuristic analysis for better protection in the future. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as a full scan – it doesn’t cover every single corner of your system.
- Custom scan. If you desire, the custom scan can check your whole system. As a result, it may last a bit longer: the scan’s duration is strongly related to the number and size of files on your computer. The more there is, the longer it takes to scan everything. You can scan even for rootkits, which are among the most difficult malware to detect.
I like that no matter which type of scan you select, Malwarebytes will perform it very quickly with almost zero CPU usage. This makes it stand out among slower antivirus programs like McAfee.
On the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of a dedicated Full scan. Although, those who prefer the DIY approach can set it up themselves. Users can modify how often the app updates its list of known malware, what the default scan should look for, and whether you want to use it as a primary or secondary antivirus. This goes as far as what actions will be performed PUP or PUM is detected. So, it can be tailored to your unique preferences.
Malwarebytes Browser Guard is a free extension for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. It blocks ads and protects you against third-party trackers, malware, scams, and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs, e.g., browser hijackers).
It comes together with your Malwarebytes antivirus software. However, you get the option to choose whether you want this extension installed or not. I like how Browser Guard is not shoved into your system without your consent and how clear the choice is presented to the user.
Malicious Website Protection
Malwarebytes offers the Malicious Website Protection feature to help you avoid reaching scam and phishing sites. Additionally, it prevents hosting malware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) on your device.
This useful feature is also known as URL filtering and works in a simple manner: automatically checks and blocks both malicious domains and IP addresses by intercepting relevant DNS queries.
Keep in mind that the Malicious Website Protection is only included in the Premium Malwarebytes subscription plan.
You can easily enable or disable the feature in the antivirus settings. Just go to the Settings on Malwarebytes app and find the Detection and Protection tab on the left-side panel. You should find the radio buttons under the section of Malicious Website Protection.
When Malwarebytes antivirus finds an infected file on your device, it instantly neutralizes it by putting it in the quarantine section. However, if you are sure that the file is safe and that’s only a false alarm, you can restore it and bring it back to its original place.
You can even put the file on the Allow list. Then, Malwarebytes won’t target it during future scans.
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN
Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy plan includes a VPN. It’s actually one of the most impressive VPN packages coupled with an antivirus. The service covers 34 countries with 400 servers, which is a bit on the lower side compared to the dedicated VPN providers. Still, it should be plenty of places to connect to.
The VPN includes WireGuard tunneling protocol, which is all the rage right now among VPN services. Considering that not all dedicated VPN service providers have it included, it’s really an achievement for Malwarebytes.
On top of that, their connection will be protected by 256-bit encryption. This means that no hacker will be able to brute-force through it. Not to mention that Malwarebytes doesn’t leave any backdoors to your data with a strict no-logs policy.