Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is a relatively new company, founded in 2008. Their home anti-malware software is designed to catch zero-day malware that other anti-virus products tend to miss. There are also small business and enterprise editions of their anti-malware product. Other tools include MBAM's Chameleon, which installs the anti-malware on an infected computer; FileASSASIN, which removes locked files when access is denied; RegASSASIN, which removes malware-placed registry keys by resetting your PC's permissions; and Secure Backup, which scans, backs up and encrypts files in an online data center. The company also sells a portable anti-malware on USB for professional technicians to take along with them. Their Anti-Exploit tool is currently in BETA. This program protects vulnerable browsers and apps from zero-day exploits, protecting Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Foxit Reader; and Adobe Acrobat Reader and PRO.
- Specialty in finding new malware
- Upfront about purpose and limitations
MBAM's specialty is hunting down newly created and released malware. They understand that most of these new threats are distributed through drive-by exploits or via hacked accounts on social networks, so this is what the product focuses on catching. Malwarebytes is known to detect Trojans, adware, and "ransomware"-which attempts to make the user pay a large fee to download a rogue antivirus software that installs even more malware (not fun)! MBAM also scans for "Potentially Unwanted Programs" (PUPs), their term for adware or software that isn't necessarily harmful, but may slow down your system. When PUPs are found, they are not automatically removed, but you will be alerted so you can decide what to do about them.
MBAM is honest about their purpose and limitations. They advise customers to have an anti-virus software and good firewall along with their product, since Malwarebytes is designed to catch new threats, not old ones. But don't worry about slowing your computer down with this anti-malware in addition to your anti-virus-it takes up less space on your hard drive than 10 digital music files.
- No AV-Test
- Backup CD purchased separately
MBAM hasn't gone through testing by AV-Test or AV-Comparative because, according to the company, there are other independent testing labs that more accurately mimic real-world conditions faced by internet users. Therefore, MBAM has had their anti-malware product tested by CRDF Threat Center and MRG Effitas, which they say focus mostly on zero-day threats rather than older malware samples. Regardless, customers who rely on the more well-known IT labs will be disappointed that they can't see how MBAM measures up.
This is minor, but we noticed that the product backup CD must be purchased separately, whereas most anti-viruses include a system backup as part of the package.
The Bottom Line
Malwarebytes is a great complementary program to run alongside another anti-virus. It isn't designed to detect common viruses or older threats that are well-protected against in most anti-virus software. However, it will catch the full gamut of zero-day and zero-hour malware-from rootkits and rogues to exploits and bots-while taking up little space on your PC.