Microsoft

Review: Cover all the bases with Malwarebytes

To cover all your bases, anti-malware software is great to have running in conjunction with any anti-virus application.

Anti-virus software is always the first thing that gets installed and run after a fresh installation of Windows, unless you are sticking with Windows Defender in Windows 8 of course. However, software from Symantec, ESET, McAfee and others that cover this area surprisingly only cover half the playing field. Sometimes, a little extra booster shot in security, via anti-malware software, is great to have running in conjunction with any anti-virus, in an effort to cover all your bases.

Malwarebytes

Product Information:

  • Title: Malwarebytes
  • Company: Malwarebytes Corporation
  • Product URL: http://malwarebytes.org
  • Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8
  • Price: Free ($24.95 MSRP for PRO version)
  • Rating: 5 out of 5
  • Bottom Line: Compared to the competition, Malwarebytes offers effective protection against malware that not only complements your current anti-virus, but is also lightweight on resources and snappy in performance.

Anti-malware software is designed by nature to complement existing anti-virus solutions without causing conflicts that can arise from using two similar security products at the same time. Essentially, in the free version, Malwarebytes is an app that is run on demand in order to scan files, determine if anything is amiss, and then provide the proper fix to ensure system security. Sometimes, anti-virus alone might miss something that Malwarebytes is able to detect.

Compared to other applications such as Spybot Search & Destroy and Webroot Spy Sweeper, Malwarebytes is considerably more lightweight on system resources and doesn't feel like a sluggish behemoth dragging its feet. I was able to perform a full-on scan while working on other tasks without so much as skipping a beat the whole time. There is also a quarantine area which contains any suspected malware found in a scan. From here, you can choose either to restore the files or delete them permanently.

Scanner settings

In the scanner settings, you can fine-tune your experience with Malwarebytes by allowing scans in memory spaces, startup, registry, and filesystem objects. For techies looking to read detailed diagnostics after a scan completes, Malwarebytes generates a system scan report, listing all the areas looked into and any objects that were deemed as infected and quarantined. If however, you prefer not to see a detailed report at the end of each scan, you can disable that feature by unchecking the box labeled "Open log file immediately after saving" under General Settings.

PRO

During the product installation, Malwarebytes does offer the opportunity to give the PRO version a try free for 30 days. What makes this particular edition stand out from the free version is the addition of automatic updates, preemptive real-time scanning and premium support. Such features are especially helpful for anyone who wants a worry-free, set it and forget it experience.

Although the price for the PRO upgrade is $24.95 directly from the company website, sites like Amazon and Newegg run promotions for this software all the time. I have seen boxed copies of Malwarebytes go for as low as $11 and it might make better sense to wait for these discounts to surface. The good news is you only pay once and you get to keep the software for life with one freely-transferrable license per machine.

Bottom line

Generally speaking, a safety-conscious web surfer isn't likely to run into malware mischief if they follow best practices for online activity. However, not everyone is likely to be this savvy, particularly those who download gimmicky free toolbars and emoticons, which sometimes end up dumping a spyware payload that basic anti-virus doesn't seem to catch. Used in conjunction with a reputable anti-virus application, Malwarebytes fills an important role in any online user's defense toolkit, working to catch the bad guys before they catch you with your pants down.

Also read:

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

49 comments
andrew peterson
andrew peterson

I was also encounter the same issue, I tried so much to resolve this but I was not able to do that. At last I just visited http://goo.gl/NzgZdh where i get the suitable answer for the removal of this trojan

kamal gaba
kamal gaba

Anti-virus software is a program or set of programs that are designed to prevent, search for, detect, and remove software viruses, and other malicious software. 

johnsondell
johnsondell

I was also facing same issue, I tried a lot to fix this however I was not able to do that. At last I just visited http://computervirusremoval.us.com/ and made a call on their toll free. I got instant help for my computer by a certified technician.


Techevolution79
Techevolution79

I use malware -bytes to supplement Microsoft Security Essentials and super-anti spyware. I usually scan my system once a month; then make sure my firewall is on. This usually works for me.

rjkelleyjr
rjkelleyjr

About 8 years ago I got a nasty trojan via a data CD that was a back up for my team's work at our office. At the time I was running on of the better(?) commercial AV programs on my PC. The commercial AV never detected it but I knew something was wrong with my PC because a lot of very strange things started to happen, especially with IE. So I loaded up a one of the better freeware AV programs and still nothing. To make a very long story short, I eventually found Malwarebytes on the net via my work computer [i](because my home computer would only take me where the trojan wanted me to go on the internet, it didn't matter if I was using IE or Firefox)[/i]. I took it home installed it and it found the trojan deleted it and on reboot cleaned it out completely. The first place I went after reboot was the Malwarebytes site and bought the program. I've change AV programs a couple of times since then but I always load malwarebytes and have it running, [b]always[/b]. It is one of the essential programs you must have in your toolbox.

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

This is a great tool to set side by side with whatever flavor of AV you use. I strongly encourage everyone to get the pro version so you have the benefit of this tool catching the issue before it becomes a problem. Its far easier to prevent the problem then it is to try and fix the system after it has been infected!

gleason1951
gleason1951

Unfortunately, not everything works as planned on every computer. We had this program installed on 30 PC's. We also had a networked inventory program running on Windows 2008 R2. We found out that we had to disable Malwarebytes "on windows startup" because it kept crashing the inventory program. After shutting off the program on all 30 PC's, no issues were experienced from that point forward. We investigated every setting available to avoid turning off Malwarebytes, but unfortunately there was no other option. At least the program is installed if and when it may be needed.

Prentom
Prentom

I have purchased the pro version for our business network, with a mix of Win7 and Xp, all machines are running MBAM and Sec Essentials have had no problems at all. Have even setup a large number of customers in the same way and no probs either. Nothings perfect but as a strarting point this is a winner.

frylock
frylock

In Chrome the download page demands I disable my extensions (I already did a temporary allow all in ScriptSafe). In my bone-stock IE9 the download never starts, and when I click on the restart link nothing happens. This just isn't worth the trouble. Can nobody make an un-gunked downloads page?

eric_s
eric_s

All my customers have a combination of Malwarebytes and one of the free AVs (Avast!, Avera, AVG) and a short list of "How Tos" to keep themselves free of all the CR@P out on the Internet.

Tfixer
Tfixer

I load MBAM on all my clients' computers, too, and it is the first thing I run when they report "weird things" happening. I haven't had it loaded at startup, however, believing that multiple anti-malware programs would be likely to be in conflict. That brings me to MY conflict: Matthew seems to be distinguishing "virus" from "malware," and several of the comments seem to indicate that others are confused as well. Ever since the term "malware" came into use, I have thought of it as a handy generic term that included viruses, trojans, key-stroke loggers, phishing, drive-by insertions, and any other generally malicious 'ware, whatever the source. Actually, I've found it very handy because I can use the one collective term to explain the need for Anti-Malware programs to my customers. Meanwhile, back in the commercial world, programs like Norton lump viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, rootkits, etc. (all of which are malicious, in my book) into the definition of "anti-virus." So, while it is nice to know that MBAM can coexist with some of the other anti-virus programs, I use it to find viruses, trojans, and any other malware that the other programs miss, which it does do. So, to have what MBAM does distinguished from what anti-virus programs do is a bit confusing. Am I missing something? Tom

mswift
mswift

I used to use MBAM until I had a few instances of Security Essentials finding things that MBAM did not.

nibby059
nibby059

ummm, this software has ben recommended to rid users of the infamous 'skype' trojan, and is it just a coincidence that microsofts skype is ailing and miraculously this software appears. Am I just jaded and too cynical for words?

nerdy_gurl
nerdy_gurl

I can't tell you how many times MBytes has saved computers I am responsible for at home and work. I've been using it for quite a while, and every version gets better. It's also easy to use which AV's often are not. Even the free version does a great job. Their support forums are a gold mine of fixes and information. And I agree with the previous poster the the combination of MBAM and Avast AV s a great team! Since I put that combo on my husband's and another relative's machine, things have been uneventful. Now I better go knock on some wood!! :D

JCitizen
JCitizen

When they went to the new blue icon, and interface, they also changed the way MBAM works. I'd swear they did a lot to make MBAM more resistant to malware manipulation by hardening the kernel space for this solution. In XP, Avast will report the installation of the new MBAM as a root kit, which is a false positive of course, but it is also an indicator of how powerful it has become! :O

belfield
belfield

Very good software - I've been using the free version for malware removal for some time, and I've bought the pro version for home use - small, effective, efficient, all in all a very good piece of software... Andy

rwbyshe9
rwbyshe9

I have been using this program for years now. Ever since I first found out about it I started using it. I definitely recommend the "free" version for every person's computer that I work on. I tell them that if they can afford the "pro" version then by all means get it! I've used Malwarebytes to resolve so many customer's malware infections that I couldn't begin to give you an accurate number. It works and it does it's job exceptionally well. The only recommendation I'd give you, that this article itself doesn't cover, would be to boot the PC or Laptop up into the "Safe Mode" first and then run a Full Scan with Malwarebytes. I've found that in a few cases, I couldn't run a complete scan or any scan by booting the pc/laptop in the normal mode, so I always use the Safe Mode. Addidionally, what I do is run the Full Scan and then delete anything that Malwarebytes finds. Next I shut off the System Restore utility to delete all older Restore Points, and then I reboot the pc/laptop. I now turn on the System Restore utility and I create a new Restore Point so that I know the computer has a clean restore point to go to. I also make sure when I label the new Restore Point that it includes some word to indicate that it's clean. Malwarebytes has made my having to fix peoples computers a simple task in many, many cases. It's a great tool and you should convince any of your clients to adopt using this great little package of anti-malware!

mckinnej
mckinnej

I've only been bitten by one piece of malware in the past decade. (It was one of those fake antivirus things that was sent to me from a friend's infected machine. I was instantly infected when it hit my inbox.) My traditional anti-virus product was totally and utterly ineffective against it. Not only did it fail to protect me from the inital infection, it was blissfully unaware of the infection. It never came close to detecting it. I read several recommendations for Malwarebytes on a forum. I downloaded a copy and ran the scan. It cleared the infection out of my system in short order. It has also cleaned several co-workers' machines in my office which were infected in spite of an enterprise anti-virus solution. It is by far the best anti-malware tool I have encountered, and I've tried quite a few. It is so good I would recommend foregoing a traditional anti-virus product (or just run something lightweight like MS Security Essentials to make Windows happy) and buy the pro version of Malwarebytes to get the real time protection. In my experience that setup provides much more effective protection than McAfee, Norton, et al.

mashatomic
mashatomic

I'm running a "sandboxing" tool on my Windows PC. And Malwarebytes is good to go either.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you run an anti-malware application in conjunction with your normal anti-virus software?

JCitizen
JCitizen

to go to ESET's onlne scanner and verify that you actually have no viruses on one of your machines. I don't trust MSE any farther that I can spit!

JCitizen
JCitizen

but I generally go to Major Geeks because they don't put a lot of junk on their page - perhaps that is part of the problem. I've had to swear off CNET for all the junk they participate in! X-( (edited) Come to thing of it, I have to click the manual control to get downloads from many sites, when using Script-safe; but it does download when I do that.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

we also use ccleaner and spybot search and destroy

terrypeck
terrypeck

No, MBAM cannot "co-exist" with other anti-virus software. Whatever else you do, don't follow the headline advice! Never run more than a single anti-virus program at once on a permanent background basis. You can practically slow your machine to a halt and cause (temporary) havoc. MBAM is a very useful tool but if you are running Win7, I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials (Win8 users have MSE - called Windows Defender - auto-installed). If you get into trouble, turn off MSE (or WD) and run MBAM. Every so often, run Combofix which is just about the best thing out there for serious infections: follow the rules for running it to the letter.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is what happens to my clients. MSE may find some viruses, but then MBAM is not a virus engine Per Se. One of the most difficult times I've had cleaning up a disaster was with a client that had MSE fully updated, and an expired MBAM trial on board. I had to pull out every trick I knew in the book, and then learn some new ones to get that cr@p off his machine. Their was one MBR bug and 56 other serious infections, and it took every thing I could pull out of my hat to get rid of them!! I just can't recommend MSE to anyone! Period! X-(

scg8r
scg8r

Same here! Have found SE to be very effective against both virus and spyware.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I've been vigorously attacked on Skype off the level 3 pipeline. This was when I was using XP, and had Comodo Personal Firewall installed. If it hadn't been for my gateway UTM device and Comodo, they would have taken over my machine! Only a Ctrl-Alt-Del and shutdown ended the attack! I must admit though, that the firmware on my UTM gateway, and the Vista x64 firewall have improved immensely to thwart these kinds of problems. However, I still to this day will not let Skype start with Windows, and only manually start it when I need to. :|

JCitizen
JCitizen

I have found - though - that Super-Anti-Spyware is pretty good at kicking out many of the infections in normal mode. I run it first, and this usually clears the way to run MBAM next - also in normal mode. Since I started doing this, I rarely, if ever, find anymore bugs in safemode afterward. I can't really recommend buying SAS, because it really doesn't do anything for you on a restricted user account, where as MBAM and many other passive real time protection systems do.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I can't recommend MSE, because I've seen too many unqualified disasters on my client's machines. If you are going to a free AV, use Avast instead. Avast and MBAM are a killer team! Don't be afraid to load up on the anti-malware either - the good ones don't conflict, and use different techniques to add more REAL TIME protection. CNET user reviews will point you in the right direction.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Right on! When you run as a restricted account with CCleaner, you can generally simply run it before log off or shutdown, and that pretty much takes care of everything. There is a reason why CCleaner is under attack by criminal exploit packages right now. I've seen some very vexing things happen right in front of my eyes, in my honey pot lab, that the new stealth malware can do even to Piriform's venerable utility! I haven't really seen it defeated yet, but newbies won't be able to readily find the start icon, if they don't know where to look. :O Fortunately Piriform is working hard to armor plate the code to resist manipulation - I mention elsewhere here that MBAM is doing this as well. I also install EMET and as minimum configure it to block several vectors caused by java exploits. On Vista and newer operating systems, Parental Controls with applications monitored can go a LONG way toward adding protecion on top of the ordinary UAC alerts. There are many things that can be done in a proper in-depth defense.

chrisfjc17
chrisfjc17

terrypeck : Thank you for your comment. I just wonder if Malwarebytes is conflicting with Outlook 2003 because I have begun to receive messages with a large font. Although it doesn't stay like that, it is still annoying though. I'm runnign Microsoft Security Essentials which has given me no such problem. I have had a new cmos battery and had to play with font sizes in Outlook. I can't get rid of the large font now. Does normal.dot have anything to do with this?

Thank you.

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

You are correct that you should not run more than one anti-virus application. However you are misinformed that Malwarebytes is an anti-virus application. It is NOT an AV app and therefor will compliment anti-virus applications. It detects things (they call it malware???[Go Figure]) that most of AV applications do not catch. You sir are just one more misinformed person spreading wrong and misleading information.

boony
boony

While you should not run more than one anti-virus, MBAM is not a traditional anti-virus. It will run just fine with the likes of Eset, Avast, etc.with no "havoc". Combofix is not meant to be run "every so often". There's no reason to run it unless you suspect you are infected. If you are not an experienced user, run it only at the request of someone helping you clean you system like bleeping computer, or the forums at Malwarebyte's

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

coexists just fine with just about any anti virus i've ever run as it's an anti malware program and not an anti virus program

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

Ever heard of them? They are used by professional system builders when a security application has an issue with some other software. You apply the exception or rule and life goes on without consequence. Your friend’s problem is not Malwarebytes it is using trash software from a company that is famous for putting out half-baked trash (namely Microsoft). That goes for using that crapware AV program they freely hand out. When was the last time Microsoft ever gave something away? Ever wonder why a company who's bottom line is reaping as much wealth as they can without any regard to the quality of the product or service they offer would be freely giving something away? Come on.... you have to ask yourself WHY?

JCitizen
JCitizen

not running MBAM. I run a lot of AVs with MBAM and no problems at all. What Avast doesn't catch MBAM typically does. Avast is very fast on the draw, but it is primarily an AV product. MBAM obviously uses different heuristic techniques to catch intruders, otherwise I would see evidence of events and errors in the Event Viewer. Not with MBAM. The last AM solution I used that was in conflict with the resident AV, was AdAware - you couldn't tell there was a conflict by running the machine, but you could see it was not good in the event viewer. Also I was testing NIS 2010 with it, and Norton had its own viewer back then that also showed a conflict with AdAware. This was ONLY because the built in AV would re-enable automatically everytime it updated. Now you can't turn off the Viper AV engine in that new Lavasoft product, so you have to go all in, if you like AdAware 10. I personally feel my other kernel based solutions are more reliable, because they don't rely on obsolete signature IDS, and they apparently conflict with AdAware and cause system instability. I don't trust the owners of Lavasoft anymore anyway, but if my clients have nothing in particular to lose - I let them use it, as it has a very good anti-malware component. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of a blended defense - I could go on and on about various solutions that all use different technology in providing active, and passive real time protection, but I'd have to hijack this thread, and write a dissertation on it, and I don't think that is appropriate for this discussion.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

Norton...yikes! optimum setup for me is Avast for AV (run a boottime scan when nasties are suspected), ccleaner to clean cookies, temp files and whatnot before running malware/spyware programs, MWB (in safe mode for nasties), spybot search and destroy (but not their new one, don't like it too much). I don't have MWB and spybot S&D running in real time in the back ground, I only run them stand alone once every couple weeks. And this pretty much sums up my "definition" of an anti virus program : Definition: "antivirus" is protective software designed to defend your computer against malicious software. Malicious software, or "malware" includes: viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, hijackers, dialers, and other code that vandalizes or steals your computer contents. In order to be an effective defense, your antivirus software needs to run in the background at all times, and should be kept updated so it recognizes new versions of malicious software. http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/a/g/antivirus.htm

terrypeck
terrypeck

It doesn't take long to find an .exe file picked up by more than one anti-virus/malware program in real time including MBAM. (Try a test and submit it to virustotal.com to see which programs flag your victim.) My understanding is that a virus/trojan can slip under the radar when two anti-virus/malware programs jump on it. I have no reason to believe that is not possible and prefer to let just one anti-virus/malware program do the heavy-lifting with MBAM to mop up the less dangerous items if one slips through. But it's a free country and you can run Norton on your machines if you want.

terrypeck
terrypeck

...but to run a third-party program continuously? I think not. MBAM is a great program, but perhaps you'd care to explain why my friend only last week rang for help because his machine was unusable (Outlook no scroll, IE not displaying pages properly etc.). Turned out he had inadvertently run the trial of MBAM on a machine protected by MSE. Uninstalling MBAM all returned to normal. Seen it before. I am *not* decrying MBAM as a program. It rocks. But on some systems at least it does not co-exist peacefully with other anti-virus programs, and that is fact and makes logical sense too. It's best employed when the defence of a SINGLE all-round anti-virus/malware program has been penetrated. And if that occurs, you can practically guarantee that it's the user's fault. If a user insists on visiting suspect sites or clicking on spam links, then they should run something like Shadow Defender and pay for things with cash.

gechurch
gechurch

They co-exist just fine. The reason you shouldn't install two AV programs is that their resident shields often conflict. Any program that has a resident component hooks into Windows. Any time a file is opened by a user the AV program will pause the open of the file and silently scan the file in the background. If no infection is found the file is opened normally and the user doesn't even know the scan happened. This is where the conflict comes in if you install two programs with resident components. They both put hooks in the same place and both try to scan the same file at the same time. As others have pointed out, Malwarebytes (free) does not have an active component so there is no conflict. As for why you would want two programs doing effectively the same thing... isn't it obvious? Not all protection programs are created equal. Every single AV program will miss things that some other program out there will find. That's the nature of the industry. There are literally hundreds of thousands of viruses out there. No AV program is, or ever will be, 100% perfect (most are in the 90%-95% ballpark). Running a second tool will help pick up the infections that are missed by your main tool.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and besides that - only a blended in-depth-defense will give you a ghost of a chance in defending against virus/malware threats - and even then you must assume you are infected before trotting off to do banking and shopping online. There are a few mitigations that help even in an infected environment - with today's threats there is just no other choice but to adopt this practice.

terrypeck
terrypeck

...well, I disagree and I've fixed thousands of machines in my time. Many of them brought in because they read advice like "co-existing" anti-virus programs. Sure malware and virii are different, but most people can't tell the difference and you cannot claim that both types of programs run at once don't do the same thing twice over. Nuts. Combofix is fine if used properly, and I practically guarantee it will find something on your machine right now.

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

I've had malwarebytes and Avast or AVG coexist quiet nicely for years. Malwarebytes is specific for malware not viruses...Malwarebytes does not scan for viruses - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more ( http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free/ ) Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is not meant to be a replacement for antivirus software. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a complementary but essential program which detects and removes zero-day malware and "Malware in the Wild". This includes malicious programs and files, such as viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, spyware, and rogue applications that many antivirus programs do not detect or cannot fully remove. It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts. In some rare instances, exclusions may need to be set for your specific antivirus product to achieve the best possible system performance. http://helpdesk.malwarebytes.org/entries/20818081-Does-Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware-replace-antivirus-software- Here's a good list of tools and some good information http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/405/antivirus-antimalware-and-antispyware-resources/ edit to add: yes, both programs check the same file but they check it for different things...one looks for apples and the other looks for oranges. I've had users get malware and viruses from facebook and youtube. Keep in mind, my client base is residential not commercial.

terrypeck
terrypeck

...and why do you believe it co-exists? Why hire two security firms to do the same job at the same time? You mean MSE and Avast and the like don't check for malware too? You are effectively doing things twice at once. Dumb in my opinion. And inviting conflict whatever the advertising blurb says.Checking the same file twice IS conflict. Unless you or your clients are visiting suspect sites all day every day, you don't need this.

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