Laptop getting an antivirus scan.
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When researching antivirus software, you have almost certainly come across products from Malwarebytes and Norton, as they’re two of the leading companies in this space. Here’s a Malwarebytes vs. Norton head-to-head feature breakdown to help you decide which antivirus solution is best for your needs.

What is Malwarebytes?

>Malwarebytes emphasizes that everyone should be able to access protection from cyberthreats. It offers antivirus protection for personal and business use. The products are robust in their functionality yet user-friendly and accessible.

What is Norton?

>Norton is a cybersecurity brand recognized and used by millions of people worldwide. The company’s team understands that the online realm can have a dark side but believes people need not fear it if they have adequate protection. The company provides products that help users embrace their digital lifestyles and keep themselves and their devices safe online.

Malwarebytes vs. Norton comparison chart

Dark web monitoring availableNoYes
Identity theft protection availableNoYes
Artificial intelligence-poweredYesYes
Brute-force attack protectionYesNo
Ability to suspend notifications during activitiesYesYes

Malwarebytes vs. Norton: Overall protection

Both of these products offer reliable protection from a full range of online threats, ranging from ransomware that could prevent you from accessing your files to specialized malware that tries to uninstall your device’s security software.

Malwarebytes has an internal component called the Katana engine. It can detect as-yet-unclassified threats with help from artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. This component does not require continual human feedback to spot these new dangers.

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Independent tests also confirm that Malwarebytes uses up to 50% fewer system resources when scanning for threats than other products. People who opt for paid versions of Malwarebytes can also schedule virus scans and get real-time protection.

Norton’s antivirus protection uses an emulation approach that makes threats reveal themselves milliseconds after it encounters them. It’s also similar to Malwarebytes in that it has machine learning that can detect potential dangers even without previous exposure to them.

The Intrusion Prevention System assesses incoming network information, helping stop threats before they reach the computer. There is also a behavioral analysis aspect that can spot apps operating suspiciously and keep them from the machine.

Malwarebytes vs. Norton: Customization capabilities

Both of these antivirus products also make it easy to personalize how they work. That makes it easier to adjust parameters to ensure you get the expected results.

You can decide what and where Malwarebytes scans for threats. Those options are beneficial if you want to get more in-depth results than a quicker examination would reveal. Malwarebytes also lets you create a custom whitelist so certain processes remain running while a scan occurs.

Norton lets people create custom tasks to keep their computers running smoothly. The possibilities include data backups, disk cleanups and more. Norton and Malwarebytes are cloud-based products, and one of cloud computing’s primary benefits is the lower upfront costs due to not needing dedicated hardware.

Norton users can customize when they get antivirus updates through the LiveUpdate feature. People with the small-business version can customize the number and type of devices protected per employee.

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Malwarebytes vs. Norton: Mobile device offerings

Many internet users don’t just go online through their desktop computers. They stay connected through mobile devices as well.

The Malwarebytes app for Android devices can find adware and other potentially unwanted programs that could slow down your smartphone. The app can also scan for likely phishing URLs when you use the Chrome browser on a smartphone. However, Apple users should be aware that, due to iOS security restrictions, the app for that platform cannot scan for malware. Instead, it protects people from other threats, such as scam calls and texts, and has ad-blocking functionality.

Norton’s protection for Android devices extends to potentially dangerous networks, apps and operating system vulnerabilities. There’s also a Device Report Card feature. It gives a breakdown of potential risks over the past 30 days. The App Advisor tells users of possible risks associated with Google Play apps before they download them, letting them make more-informed judgment calls. The Norton app for iOS works similarly, except it has Secure Calendar functionality that screens for event invites that could contain harmful links.

Malwarebytes vs. Norton: Which one is best for you?

People who have tried Malwarebytes and Norton products typically report that both are easy to use and configure. However, some testers say people using some Norton products on lower-end PCs may find their machines performing more slowly when running the security suite.

Users also commonly find both products reasonably priced. However, numerous customers with Malwarebytes products mentioned running into various subscription and renewal-related difficulties. Sometimes, people had trouble canceling a plan to avoid getting charged for it again. Others had problems confirming specifics with customer service representatives about when they’d get rebilled for a subscription.

Malwarebytes has a significantly more transparent billing structure than Norton if pricing is a concern for yourself or your company. Norton users wanting the product for personal use pay a flat rate annually or per month, and the amount varies whether a person wants protection for a single device or up to five.

Norton provides five different personal antivirus products, but only one of them gives the option of monthly billing. There’s also a small-business product and antivirus protection for gamers. You can see flat fees on the website, but those only apply for the first year, making it hard to budget if you plan to use a product for longer. You also must pay separately for mobile device protection.

Malwarebytes vs. Norton: Make a thoughtful decision

You’re now in a much better position to weigh the options and think about how these two possibilities could help your business or strengthen what you do to stop cyberattacks at home. If you’re still on the fence about both of them, consider downloading the trial versions of these offerings to get more acquainted with how they work.