Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Review

key review info
application features
  • Advanced malware detection and removal
  • (7 more, see all...)

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is no news for the majority of the users. The main benefit of this security tool, besides the obvious protection it provides, is that it can run along other anti-malware products, thus contributing to increased protection of your system.

There are two editions of the app currently available, one free of charge, which targets non-commercial use and a paid product, slightly richer in options and features, at the price of $24.95. The value of this money resides in the fact that the Pro edition of the software comes with real-time and heuristic protection; it is also capable to block known and zero-day malicious web content. Additionally, the flash scans are faster than the free edition.

The latest version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a 9MB install and getting it on the system is no more complicated than clicking through the screens to the finish. Nothing is pushed on the system except for the files needed by the program.

Looks are nothing much, but the layout is designed to offer even the least experienced user a comfortable way to handle the program. In the upper part of the application window you’ll find all the menus of the program, neatly organized into specific tabs.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware brings in a short list of features, but this does not diminish its importance on the system. The three types of scan available in the app can look for malicious items residing in the common places of the system (quick scan), on any of the drives you select (full scan) or perform a search of system memory and startup locations for active threats (flash scan); the latter is present only in the professional version of the software.

The scheduler is also a perk for paying customers which benefit from real-time protection. This function helps you plan scans and signature updates to be carried out at your most convenient times. This is not to say that MBAM puts a lot of stress on your system.

In fact, the application required 20% of the CPU on average (peaked at 45%) and gulped about 80MB of RAM during our on-demand scan tests. The values are totally satisfactory considering that the system we used was equipped with a Dual Core 2GHz processor and 3GB of memory.

As far as detection rate is concerned, MBAM’s score during on-demand testing was not too high at 64.7% (missed 120 samples out of 340); but the heuristic engine did its job and increased the value to 78%, as it identified 46 more threats. Worth mentioning is the fact that in our case no malware enclosed in an archive was detected; MBAM took notice of them as soon as they were unzipped.

During our evaluation we did not see Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware misbehave by crying “wolf” over legitimate files, but if this happens you will find it quarantined and you’ll be able to restore it. To avoid such action in the future you can add the file to the ignore list so that future scans will skip it.

Setting up MBAM is ridiculously simple. The most important part is under Scanner Settings, which lets you choose the locations you want the program to look for malware. Although lacking complexity, the options are comprehensive and cover memory objects, startup items, registry entries and file system elements. On top of this you can enable the advanced heuristics engine as an extra layer of protection.

Additional settings available refer to the action the app should take against potentially unwanted programs, P2P programs or potentially unwanted modifications. The options are simple: show in results dialog that pops up after the scan completes and mark them for removal, don’t check for removal or do not list them at all on the results page.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may not be extremely efficient on its own, but its scan speed, low foot print on system resources and a knack for identifying threats other reputed security applications miss, make it a reliable companion for the safety of tour system. During our testing it managed to recognize plenty of malware that was missed by Panda Cloud Antivirus and avast! Internet Security.

For files resilient to being removed from the system you can use FileAssassin, a tool designed to delete locked files. It is similar to Unlocker and if it cannot throw an item out of the system on the spot you can be sure that after rebooting the computer the target will no longer be present.

The Good

Everything is simple about it, from installation to configuration and handling of detected malware. Scans are extremely fast and accurate.

It can be used with other security tools you have on your system. FileAssassin helps you delete locked files, very useful when removing persistent malware. Real-time protection is on guard for malicious activity for increased safety of your system.

The Bad

There were times when we experienced some trouble accessing the interface: on double clicking the system tray icon we would receive the message “Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is already running”.

The Truth

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is fast, reliable and easy on system resources. Even if it is not the malware scanner with the highest detection rate we’ve tested, it makes for an incredible job as a companion for other security products you have on the computer. It will score great results on computers already infected as well as on clean systems.

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user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 5
Editor's review