Microsoft

Review: IObit Malware Fighter

If you are looking for an anti-malware product that is both sharp looking and decent on performance, IObit has something for you in Malware Fighter.

Editor's note: After conferring with TechRepublic members in the discussion thread following this blog post, Matt has been persuaded that IObit Malware Fighter fails to meet certain standards and has reassessed his original positive review. If you have more insight into IObit Malware Fighter, please post a comment and tell us what you have discovered.

Earlier this year, I covered an excellent anti-malware product called Malwarebytes Anti-malware. It's fast, robust and has a solid engine with few if any false positives encountered during scanning. Competition does exist in this space; however, many other software products return poor quality scans and higher-than-comfortable system resource usages, which can be quite annoying. But other gems are out there as well.

IObit, a company that has been in the Windows security and system utilities business for some time, has an anti-malware product. IObit Malware Fighter aims to fend off the throngs of malicious code, while keeping in lockstep with any other installed anti-virus package in an effort to bolster defenses. It has a few interesting features to bring to the table as well as some potential annoyances as well.

Product Information:

  • Title: Malware Fighter
  • Author: IObit
  • Supported operating systems: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Price: Freeware ($19.95 for the Pro version)

Installation

Sadly, the installer for Malware Fighter, at least in the free version, contains a bloatware toolbar that can get installed if you aren't careful on picking the correct button. I have a natural aversion to toolbars on principle and I prefer to keep my browsers free of such add-ons. However, during the Malware Fighter install, the "Accept and Install" button is placed in such a way that it is easy to mistake this as a required step in order to proceed with the entire installation. Thankfully this is not the case and one can simply press the "Decline" button to skip ahead.

This can easily fool happy clickers who might not bother to read the installer text

Once Malware Fighter is up and running, you will be asked to update the malware heuristics engine then proceed with at least one smart scan of your PC's hard drive. The entire process could only take anywhere from a few minutes to nearly half an hour or so, depending on the amount of files that needs to pass through the scanner. The UI has an oddly pleasing, solid color aesthetic to it that is somewhat reminiscent of a Windows 8 tablet app in design. I was able to navigate to the various sections of the app quickly and easily.

Malware Fighter scans away with nary a hiccup

Scanning

The scan performance was decent, but there were a few moments when Windows slowed down a bit during regular usage of the desktop. Looking beyond the local scanning capability, if you have a particular file that you might be especially suspicious of and want to give it a more thorough analysis, there is a cloud upload feature where you can send any file of your choosing to IObit's server farm for additional checks. Community-flagged files also build a rather nice list that the scanner can go by for painting an accurate picture of what is being dealt with.

Extra goodies are in store for you

IObit decided to throw in an extra feature called the "Performance" section, which honestly isn't so much a real performance boost area as it is a mere collection of links to downloads of other IObit software products. The only ones that really appeared to be worthwhile were Start Menu 8 (a free tool which is designed to re-implement the Start Menu on Windows 8 classic desktop mode) and the Smart Defrag tool.

In my opinion, calling it a performance area though might be slightly disingenuous on IObit's part as it would probably be best called an "Extras" section instead, since the additional software isn't necessarily going to make your PC run like a rocket ship.

Bottom line

As a whole, Malware Fighter itself is a rather decent anti-malware product that can effectively scrub various bits of nasty executable code from your system as well as give your anti-virus an extra booster shot. If you are looking to have priority support and more frequent background malware definition updates, the Pro version can be had for a reasonable price of $19.95. Though, if you are willing to keep tabs on the program manually, the free version is effectively just as good from a scan quality perspective.

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...

26 comments
Taff Rivers
Taff Rivers

There is a serious flaw with IObit Malware Fighter (v2.4.1.15 and earlier).


Under certain situations, IObit can report that it has not scanned anything,

viz. ’Objects Scanned:' 0

But more importantly it reports that it hasn’t detected a threat, which it otherwise would do!

viz. ‘Threats Found:’ 0


Simply put, IObit has a hole in it that is open to exploitation.

To recreate the situation:


Restore any file from your quarantined database, known to contain malware.

But, before scanning it,

  1. Rename that file, and include a comma in its name.

   2. In Windows Explorer, or whatever, scan it.

IObit will report that -no- files has been scanned

and that nothing untoward has been detected:

’Objects Scanned:' 0

‘Threats Found:’ 0

    3. Remove comma from in its name.

    4. Scan it.

IObit will now report in vibrant red that has indeed found a threat.

Probable cause:

IObit is wrongly assuming that is being given a comma separated list of files to scan,

and is counting ‘them’ off till zero files remain.

Eddie Hadley

Analyst Programmer (Retired)


godivagirl
godivagirl

I liked using this on my old Windows Vista machine. Does anyone know if it can be downloaded on the Microsoft surface RT tablet or the Samsung Galaxy tab? My Chromebook is supposed to update automatically, but I'm having virus issues that keep causing crashes and I'd like to try Iobit on it. http://pinstor.us/2014/09/15/best-chromebook-home-business/

Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra

After reading about the theft of malware definitions by IOBit, I have decided to remove all IOBit software from my computers, and I will never again use their software! I didn't know that IOBit was a Chinese owned company: just the fact that a Chinese company produces a certain application, is enough reason for me not to use that application. You never know what kind of trojans, keylogger, etc. are included.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

NIS reports this program as unstable... I'll stick with malware bytes!

JCitizen
JCitizen

I'll stick with MBAM anyday! I've used MBAR with great dispatch as well!! :)

JCitizen
JCitizen

That MBAM went to court with iObit for stealing their source code! No way am I going to trust a company that does things like that! It is probably no wonder being as how they were bought out by a PRC company not long ago. It is things like this is why Obama is not smiling at the summits with them now. (edited) My apologies to Michael Carr for not seeing his post first.

Regulus
Regulus

Again we are cursed with having the source of this software being CNET. (IMHO) CNET is totally untrustworthy and consistently attempts to deceive site users into downloading junk software that they do not want and do not need. Hey! This is Tech Republic. We deserve better than this.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I have interviewed third-party testers, and their results did not bode well for this app.

rasilon
rasilon

I was interested until 2 things happened. First, it tried to install the CNet downloader software. No way! Not with its history of installing crapware! Second, the quote from MalwareBytes convinced me to skip It!

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Having more systems to test on would have been a good idea. I'll consider multiple virtual machines with varying configurations, OSes and malware just to incorporate further coverage and make a more reasonable review in the future, at least for security software reviews.

rjdbnet
rjdbnet

I ran a scan with the free version, which produced "1 Threat found" Trojan.Win32/BHO File C:\Reveal\Trueforms\TFShared.dll Spyware.com suggests the possibility that this is a scam to get people to buy the pro version.

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

..especially combined with fabulously "decent" performance.

MichaelCarr
MichaelCarr

Marcin at Malwarebytes has this to say about these folks: "Malwarebytes has recently uncovered evidence that a company called IOBit based in China is stealing and incorporating our proprietary database and intellectual property into their software. We know this will sound hard to believe, because it was hard for us to believe at first too. But after an indepth investigation, we became convinced it was true. Here is how we know. ..." IOBit has been doing this since 2009. Read the full post at Malwarebytes: http://forums.malwarebytes.org/index.php?showtopic=29681 My conclusion is, "no IOBit-anything on my systems" (same for clients). Like they say here in Texas, "what goes around, comes around!!!" Michael Carr, Dallas, TX, USA

joeschmidlach
joeschmidlach

I have the pro version but I don't allow it to remain in memory because it slows my computer down so bad that I can't get anything done. At first I thought I had a virus but it took me a while to find out it was this. It works pretty good but don't forget to exit completely when done scaning and cleaning.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Does your organization run system-wide anti-malware software? Does it work as well as you would like it?

JCitizen
JCitizen

I completely agree Vishvamitra!

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

My intent is not to decieve or to misdirect my readers. As is clearly evident, given the current tone of the comments, I stand humbly corrected and wish to revise my end result assessment of this product. Although I do strive for accuracy, occassionally I can be off the mark. Since security software is more situational and because I can't possibly cover every vector of attack that this software should be able to address, having feedback from the community does help improve the quality of everything on this site, including my writings. As a result, in light of new information, I wish to note that any recommendation for this app that I had at first has now been officially rescinded. I will be sure to produce more accurate reviews in the future, particularly in the realm of security software.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Major Geeks, File Hippo, or the author's original site are the only trustworthy download sites now. Even a few PUPs get by File Hippo once and a while, but their Update Checker is pretty consistently clean, if you uncheck the occasional Google or Ask toolbar.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

I never noticed that in my tests, but that does sound rather suspect. Thanks for sharing!

JCitizen
JCitizen

I posted too early! My apologies! You information is up to snuff! :)

RNR1995
RNR1995

Good catch on the IObit theft Will not use any of their products ever Pass the word

JCitizen
JCitizen

because this stuff doesn't generally get out otherwise - your articles are much appreciated! :)

rjdbnet
rjdbnet

I appreciate your effort. Software can easily sneak glitches past anyone. Even web searches can miss problems.

RNR1995
RNR1995

You know most people cannot admit a mistake I have to take the time to commend you on your actions This business is full of FUD, and having community feedback is important to everyone so the best results can be obtained Thank you very much RNR

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